Kissa’s Story: The Road to my Destiny
I am happy to tell you that another group of sponsored students is looking forward to graduation, taking their national examinations, and preparing themselves for employment. Kissa Kilembe is one of these students. Kissa studies at Tukuyu School of Nursing, located in Mbeya, in the southern part of Tanzania. Over the past year, we have enjoyed reading Kissa’s monthly reports relating to her activities at school and at home. She is an excellent student – as of February 2018, she had a 5.0 average out of 5.0. We found her to be a leader among the students and wonderful at expressing herself.
For these reasons, we asked Kissa to write a short autobiography about herself. These are her words—her writing has not been edited. In a few places we have added a clarification in red type face or added a link.
Tanzania’s educational system follows the British system. Primary school consists of seven grades. Secondary school consists of Ordinary Level (four years) and Advanced Level (two years). Once students complete the Ordinary Level, they can apply to a diploma program or continue in the Advanced Level if they score sufficiently in a national examination. The students that we sponsor are enrolled in a three-year diploma program, leading to certification as registered nurse and registered midwife.
I believe that Kissa’s essay expresses the appreciation she and her family have for the sponsorship that you have given her.
I plan to travel to Tanzania in November/December. During my time in Tanzania, I will visit Kissa and her family at the home in Kyela, not far from Tukuyu, on the Malawi border.
Tony van Werkhooven, Treasurer
Now for Kissa’s essay:
THE ROAD TO MY DESTINY BY KISSA TIMOTH KILEMBE
“True virtues come from true knowledge” I personally agree to that, being born and nurtured in an extended family in the land of Nyakyusa tribe in Mbeya region, Tanzania. I m a second born in a family of five children, four girls and one boy in between. Ever since I was born my parents have always been there for me, before I started nursery school my mum had already taught me the basics of education such as Alphabets, numbers, and naming objects in English, regardless the fact that schools in my country, we are being taught in Swahili from nursery to primary and the studies changes to English from secondary to higher levels.
Both of my parents belong to the Nyakyusa tribe, my father is a farmer though at times he engages himself in seasonal businesses, mother is a house wife, sometimes she assists my dad in farm work. Life was favorable back in the years whereby food, clothing’s, shelter and school fees was not a problem, not until when my uncle died (my father’s elder brother) followed by my aunty in the same month, during the time I was in form two (note: second year of secondary school). They left eight orphaned children, basing on our tribe traditional says “your brothers children are your children” thus my dad had to play a role of a responsible father to the eight children adding to the fact that he was a bread winner, two of my cousins refused to continue with schooling and six leaved with us, making a total of eleven dependent children.
“As long as you’re alive there’s hope” these were mum`s words of encouragement, when dad’s money drained to the extent that he sold most of his assets, like land and houses to ensure that we were surviving, I lost hope cause I was not sure what the future holds. Life became so hard and dramatic during the time was an ordinary graduate (Note: graduated from Ordinary Level).
I later had to go to a government school for advanced secondary school education basically sciences, though the education was spotty I had to move along with it, because I knew that was the only loop hole to achieve my goals. After completing the advanced education (Note: Advanced Level, secondary education), the government ordered that all secondary advanced graduates had to go through a three months army coarse, with a notion of making us devoted and good citizens to our country.
Life in the army one would say it was “survival for the fittest”, flog jumps, pushups, being plunged in cold water, crawling, going through under tunnels was the order of the day. Before I accomplished the course I sustained a dislocation on my right leg following a fall from the ropes, it was painful but I was able to endure it because I was induced with a psychological poison of knowing how to handle pain at all cost. Time went by I was back home my leg in line and I had my army certificate.
After two months I applied for a nursing course because I love nursing, it is my dream to be a nurse, it is as if nursing flows through my veins, I have always viewed nursing as a holy work, the dignity of helping person get better is so remarkable and the feeling is irreplaceable. But when I got the chance to go to study, my dad did not have money for tuition fees, most of the savings were used on the funeral of my aunty and grandmother who died in the same year. My dad said “Do not lose hope my daughter you will go as soon as I get enough money for your fees”, deep down in me I was in great pain, postponing a year while my friends commencing with their studies was a great challenge I had to go through, because there was no way out I had to face it.
During the year of staying home and helping my dad in his business, one beautiful sunny morning my dad asked me to take some fishing hocks to one of his customers, dwelled in my depressive thoughts of what will become of my life, I was crossing the tarmac road suddenly I was hit by a minibus (daladala). The only thing I remember was a lot of creaming and shouting, I was alive but felt like I was dreaming, the driver of the minibus took me to the police station then he rushed me to the hospital. I sustained bruises and my right leg (hip joint) was dislocated again with an addition to my right wrist and this time the pain was severe. This moment marked the turning point in my spiritual life, felt like I was given a second chance to live, by he who created me (Almighty GOD) and I was alive to accomplish thy purpose. Few weeks letter I was back home for a complete recovery.
The time had come for applications, I followed the procedures as usual, I was selected at Tukuyu school of nursing, this time my dad had served enough money for a start for the first year and I was so excited. “ As time goes I gradually got better” I was able to walk normally, although my right hand was not able to endure writing for a long period time.
When I arrived at Tukuyu school of nursing I developed enthusiasm to study hard, from the word “go” I could not waste the golden opportunity, sometimes I would have one meal per day due to shortage of money but that did not hinder me from striving to the peak. The tutors at Tukuyu school of nursing are so strict in issue pertaining to academics, they are doing a great job of producing competent nurses and it’s my hope that I’ll soon be among the competent nurses from Tukuyu school of Nursing.
The moment of miracle came when I was in second year of the nursing course, I got a sponsorship for my studies through the Tanzanian Nursing Scholarship Program (TNSP). School fees for my final year and half of the second year was paid, I was given pocket money and money for food. The sponsors were like angels sent from heaven for my rescue. My parents were so happy and this also opened the door for my young sibling to resume in their studies and the burden on my parents subsided. May the sponsors be blessed abundantly (may their pockets never dry up).
The sponsorship as made my educational road to be smooth, my performance in studies was good but now it’s excellent, because I m much focused without any worries of going through tribulations of finding money for food or think about how I will get school fees. A special word of gratitude to the sponsor for making my dreams come true. It is my dream to achieve high learning in my career specifying (Note: specifically) in midwifery or psychiatric nurse, so that I can help my family in paying tuition fees and when other needs arises, but also have the desire help the society that dwell in interior (Note: “interior” refers to rural) places, where access to health services is a problem. These are the places I would like to work. I got a clear picture when I was in the community field work practice at Sinyanga village, the villagers were in great need of health services but the available dispensary could not met the services adequately due to shortage of health care workers. (Note: In their second year of studies student live in a rural village for a month to learn about health needs)
In Tanzania the health services are not adequate to rural areas leading to the high rate of mortality and morbidity in the country. Regardless of the government efforts to reduce the mortality and morbidity rate, it has not worked on the root cause of the problem. The demand for nurse is still high.
The nurses in health facilities that are in rural areas are facing challenges of inadequate equipment and supplies necessary for their work.