Lately, I have come to notice that time no longer flies; time rockets! We set yearly goals and even before we start planning on how to achieve them, it is another new year. Months seem long until we have few days and minutes left. Truly, time waits for no man, and the wisest of all are those that have mastered how to maximise every second of it.
On 12th December 2011, I set out on a journey that was going to change my life forever. I left my country, Kenya, for Ukraine. This was after securing a scholarship to study Civil Engineering at the national construction university. Thinking ahead, five years appeared to be centuries but all of a sudden, 2016 came.
Having to learn Ukrainian language took me back to the kindergarten where I had to repeat alphabets after the teacher. From А,Б,С,Д,Е… Ю,Я,Ь to “Pa-pa, ma-ma”.
It took seven months to be able to construct meaningful sentences and finally study in the language.
As I had mentioned earlier, I was among five young Kenyans who secured a scholarship through the ministry of Higher Education to study in Ukraine. Being naive and excited, we had no doubt that things would go exactly as promised. While the Ukrainian government took care of our tuition, an alleged semi-annual stipend was to come from our home country. This was so promising that when one of our parents wanted to know how the stipend would get to us, he was asked not to worry; the Kenyan Embassy would take care of that. What else was there to worry about?
You are guessing right. We never received a cent from the Kenyan government, even after our plight went viral following financial difficulty. It was a very trying moment for the 5 of us. We were not allowed to work as students. We also had no option but score 75 and above in every exam in order to receive stipend from Ukrainian government. Remember that we were studying in Ukrainian language, not English. It was not easy, but giving up was not an option either.
Of all the millions of Kenyans and even foreigners who came across the story of the struggling Kenyans in Ukraine, One Miss Becky Bochaberi Chepng’ene from the united States contacted us and had her church dedicate a thanksgiving collection to us. It was very humbling, because not even the journalist that published our story followed up on us. My goal is to one day meet Becky and even her church, to personally say “THANK YOU”. It was encouraging to know that someone cared, giving me every reason to work even harder.
It is a great testimony for me to write this today, as a graduate civil engineer. Had I lost hope along the way, there would be no story worth writing about. Had I given up, I wouldn’t be in position to say “Impossible is Nothing!” Despite all the struggle and the economic crisis in Ukraine, God still made it possible.
What did I learn from this?
There are very many stories like mine. Needy and voiceless people, whose plight depends on those who can be compassionate enough to stretch a hand. If we do not close our eyes and even ears to need we clearly see, we help make the world a better place. A lot of youths engage in worthless behaviours like prostitution and robbery because they see no other way out. No matter how judgemental we become and throw stones at them, my personal experience has made me empathise. We all have what it takes to help a person in need, it is just the willingness.
What do I have to say to those struggling in any way?
Don’t give up. Do not compromise. Keep on fighting until you win. If you do not give up, you will achieve your dreams. Disappointments will come along the way, but focus more on the goal. Embrace the difficult times and grow to the best of your ability. In the long run, the struggles won’t matter as much as the end reward! Make every minute count, regardless of what the conditions dictate.
IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING!