The Long Journey - We all Have One

By Tambudzai Shamu,

"... sometimes it is not where you go to school, but what you achieve when you are there."

Lately I have been thinking a lot about my life and how long it has taken me to be where I am now. It may seem like nothing now but the hurdles have been many and I am proud of myself for having made it this far. It is amazing how many disappointments I have gone through but looking back now I know they all happened for a reason. I remember when I was in primary school, I always dreamt of going to Monte Cassino. All the bright girls from my primary school had gone there and I felt I had to join them. Well, as it happened I never went there and ended up going to a school far away in the Midlands which I had never heard of before. When I got there I started having a new dream, I wanted to go to St. Ignatius College . My interest started off when one girl showed me a magazine from the school and I just felt it was the perfect school for me. My interest actually ended up turning into an obsession - I began collecting the yearly issues of the Stiggs magazine and reading every material about the school which my eyes landed on.

By the time I was in Form Four I knew all the names of the people who had learnt there from 1996-2000. I knew the best academic students, the best sports people, and what all those people had done or were now doing after their lives at St. Ignatius. In fact to sum up a bit on all this, all I have to say is that I knew much more about the school than anyone who had learnt there.

When I was writing my Ordinary Level exams, before starting each paper I would write this on my desk, musikana nyora uchiziva kuti gore rinouya uri kuenda kunodzidza pachikoro chepachikomo ("girl, write this exam keeping in mind that you are going to the school on the hill" ). My motivation would come from only these words. I envisioned myself as a Mary Ward lady in braids and that green uniform and the constant thought of that got me through exams with a strong desire to make it. I had started applying to the school for Advanced Level long before many other people and it was very disappointing when they sent me the wrong reply. It seemed my application had arrived too early and it was mistaken for a Form One application. When I obtained my Ordinary Level results, my first stop was St. Ignatius. It was just so unfortunate that corruption was starting to get into the administrating people and after endless days of going back and forth I was not given the place. I will never forget the day, 14 February 2001. I cried my eyes out and my mother was afraid that I was probably going to commit suicide. It took me a week to recover and after that I did not want to stay at home.

I had gotten places at three other schools but after the big loss, I just felt I needed to go to the school which was starting the Lower Six academic year earlier than the others. I felt having my mind occupied by other things would probably make me get over my ordeal quickly. That is how I ended up going to Gweru, and though I went there unwillingly, my experiences there taught me a lot about life. I really do not regret my decision now. If I had gone to St. Ignatius, I would probably not have become part of this prestigious Usap family. It made me believe that for everything that happens in our lives, God has a purpose for us. Spending time crying over our failures or grieving for things which have not gone our way will never get us any where.

What I learnt from my experiences is that sometimes it is not where you go to school, but what you achieve when you are there. It is the people who make the best out of their stations in life and for that they ought to have a strong natural desire to succeed. I have seen so many talented people live regrettable lives because they failed to make the right decisions or they did not exploit great resources which they had when the time was right. We are here in the USA, surrounded by amazing technologies, great study resources, and anything else we could never have dreamt of when we were back home in Zimbabwe. It takes a great mind to realize that and be thankful for it.

There are so many people out there who would do anything to trade places with us, so let us not take anything for granted. I, for one long to see the day when Usap students are going to be treading back home, equipped with a liberal art education and knowledge in all other fields anyone can imagine; ready to take over and make a huge difference in the lives of Zimbabweans. I believe we are all thoughtful, creative, competent, and independent thinkers who have all it takes to get our country back on its feet again. Ladies and gentlemen let us keep absorbing as much knowledge as possible for we need it for the grand journey of life the Lord has set for us.

Story written on 11/26/ 2003

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