As I reflect on my journey, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the incredible opportunity the PAPSSN Scholarship has afforded me. Studying abroad was a dream I never thought I’d realize, but this scholarship made it possible. Little did I know that this life-changing journey would take an unexpected turn when I found out I was pregnant before traveling to participate in the scholarship opportunity for a master’s degree at Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST). I was faced with doubt about how I’d manage, but I was rendered support not only by my husband but also by professor Mengistu, Mrs. Chakandinakira, professor Fulvio and the team. In this blog article, I want to share my story of how the PAPSSN Scholarship not only enabled me to pursue my academic dreams but also helped me navigate the challenges of motherhood while abroad.
(fig1:Location; Zambia airport, about to travel to Botswana)
Since I was able to reason, I’ve wanted to be a scientist and leave a lasting legacy on the planet. To change the world, you must have lofty goals that push you out of your comfort zone. I received my BSc in Physics from Copperbelt University in Zambia, where one of my lecturers noticed my interest in Astrophysics and later advised me to take this chance. After receiving the scholarship, I realized I would become a mother. That’s when doubt and worry seized me about the decision I was about to make; fortunately, the host team provided guidance on which path to choose.
Because the astrophysics department had not yet been established when I was admitted to the university, I was assigned to the environment science department. A whole new field to me, and I had to learn the fundamentals from the beginning. As the department attempts to solve real-world challenges, I soon adapted. Although the material is voluminous, it became easier to traverse with the help of my supervisor and lecturers. Learning new abilities can be difficult to the point when I begin to doubt myself, but in the end, determination and hard effort triumph.
fig2:My husband visiting me at BIUST
The scholarship’s support network proved to be a lifeline during this challenging period. The friends I made in my host country, many of whom were fellow scholarship recipients, became my extended family. They offered emotional support, invaluable advice, and practical assistance. We shared in the joys and tribulations of academic life and motherhood, forging bonds that will last a lifetime.
fig3:In Botswana, friends became family.
The scholarship organization itself also played a pivotal role. They provided guidance on navigating the educational system in a foreign land, ensuring I had the resources needed to excel academically. Moreover, their understanding and flexible approach during my pregnancy was a testament to their commitment to the holistic well-being of their scholars.
In the end, the PAPSSN Scholarship is doing more than just enable me to obtain a world-class education; it is transforming my life. I will not only graduate with a master’s degree but also became a stronger, more resilient individual, a loving mother and wife. This scholarship has taught me the power of community, resilience, and the importance of pursuing one’s dreams, even in the face of unexpected challenges.
In conclusion, the PAPSSN Scholarship is more than financial assistance; it is a lifeline for not only women like me but fathers, sons and daughters who dream of pursuing higher education and who face life’s unforeseen twists and turns. It’s a symbol of hope, empowerment, and resilience. My journey, though filled with challenges, has been a testament to the transformative impact of this scholarship. I am forever grateful for the opportunities it has provided and the remarkable people it has brought into my life. Special thanks to Professor Mengistu for his support and guidance towards my research work.