When I broke the news of my acceptance to Pomona College to my grandmother, Gogo, she danced like I have never seen. I mean Gogo likes listening to The Soul Brothers, and I have seen her move to their tunes, but this was like nothing I had ever seen before. It seemed like it was she who had been accepted to college instead of me. Her dance is exactly what this acceptance meant to my entire extended family. I cannot forget how Gogo would make me tea at 2am when I was studying for the SAT and ZIMSEC exams and stayed up to counsel me when she thought I had stayed up too late. My grandmother’s reaction also represents dozens scattered across Zimbabwe and South Africa at hearing the news, as well as a whole village of people who played a part in this roller coaster ride of college admissions.
My application has always been a team effort. The team work has made the dream work. From the time I was accepted into the United States Students Achievers Program (USAP) a team of people enthusiastically were there to guide and support me. Education Matters transformed from a resource center to a place where I could walk in any time to discuss anything, even beyond my application. Mrs. Mano changed to Amai Mano, Chenje became my brother, and my fellow USAPers turned into brothers and sisters. My experiences with Education Matters confirm the Nigerian Proverb: “If you want to go fast, walk alone, but if you want to go far, walk together.”
I know of dozens of people who deserve huge credit for this acceptance from my family, my school, HOCIC, EducationUSA, Education Matters. It was not a solo effort to get me to this triumph.
Throughout this process I have made many proud, but I have equally raised the family’s and community’s expectations. I feel their hopes and aspirations resting on my shoulders. I understand that for my dream to become a reality a host of people worked hard behind the scenes. I owe these people beyond measure. It is therefore my utmost responsibility to ensure that I empower those behind me through the doors that this privilege will unlock for me. My family, USAP, my high school, Education Matters and my country now look up to me to realize my full potential which will translate to better fortunes for all.
Feeling grateful, I won’t forget Gogo’s dance. In essence, it is her acceptance too. Truly it takes a village.