As I finish this race

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Two years is such a long time, especially for someone you only met for a week. A week of scanty talks, you can be justified that you’ve forgotten their name.

I might have forgotten the name, but I remember it was on the second week of school, in the computer library as our Media design and layout lecturer was plying his trade, an art he mastered so well…

“You, get out of my class!” he burst.

Slowly my friend walked out of class. That was how his university dream crashed. But the chase from class did not chase him from school.

It was just an echo of the misfortune he was.  Chifundo, Chisomo or Madalitso might have been his name. His name was an inspiring Christian name, an irony of the future he had.

We shared something in common; a determination that a university education would give us a new song. In those few days we shared our miseries. He was from Chikhwawa, myself from Salima.

He narrated to me a tale of how he had heard about the Diploma in Journalism program being offered at what in the next two days I’ll call my alma mater. Of how he applied and got accepted just like myself, like the rest of us.  But, there was something he didn’t get right.

My friend, let’s call him that for now, thought the K90, 000 school fees included boarding and accommodation. He had made arrangements to stay at a friend’s place in Chilobwe until he pays fees and is given a room on campus.

No! That was wrong.

Upon registration the truth rained on him. 90 000 was tuition. Everyone was supposed to find their bed and food. All he had was K90, 000. The amount he had earned through peace works.

The time he entered the classroom the day he was chased out, he wasn’t there necessarily to learn for the end of semester exam. Just to have a feel of the university and return to Chikhwawa the ‘grace period’ granted by his host expires.

“Sam, I am going back home. There’s nothing else I can do”, with an empty voice he told me after waiting for two hours that we meet after the class.

I was equally hopeless. I mean what do you say when you are dancing to the same song, just with different tempos.

Today is the last to identify myself as a Diploma in Journalism student at the Malawi Polytechnic. Thinking of my first day reminds me of the first person I called a friend here. Someone who had a vision like me. But circumstances strangled the dream before birth.

That hasn’t been my story.

Comfortably I have sailed through my college life. Of course with some academic disputes which I had to settle with my Science teachers (Don’t ask for more because I don’t have answers, Lol).

My failure to appreciate the support I received from a million people will be doing injustice to the friend I described above. A friend whom maybe with an equal of the support I had could manage to graduate with a distinction and transform his Chikwawa as I move south to impact my Salima.

It’s not always the best thing to do, but there are some people am greatly indebted to. The 2012 Salima Progressio ICS Team, a great people who saw a visionary in me and though of thrusting me higher, led by John. Plus a thousand others I never met.  Am grateful.

Even with all the money in the world, others have ever gone astray, that’s why I thank Danneck for being a father, pastor, friend, mentor and advisor to me.  A role model.

Anais Bertrand, a young lady who’s academic and professional I highly admire.  There are a million others who gave all they had that I get the good that a university student deserves. This piece is for you.

24 months is such a long time for one to spend without making friends. After awarding me a paper for studying for two years, the university thought of giving me an extra reward, that’s John Namalenga Junior. Vyalema Kaluluma Phiri, Miss Ezelina Kamaliza. Studying at the university at the same time you did is a thing I will never take for coincidence.

To sum it up, there’s this pintsized young man.  He tells me, everyone who learnt English can write, but for someone to read an article to the 23rd paragraph it needs style and several ingredients.  So he’s teacher who never took me through formal class but through his writings and mentoring I am writing today. Dave Namusanya, in your class I will never graduate because you always have something new.

My long lost friend might be somewhere in his native Chikwawa farming or doing anything, but am writing from my office desk where I’ll be interning for the next 3 months.

I finish this journey with mixed thoughts. Happy for those us who have run it well, Sad for a million others whose pockets were too weak to survive two years.

For in a war there are many battles, this one is won. But the war rages on. We shall overcome, someday.

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