Dreams in a Scrap of Tin

It is very clear today that educating girls boosts prosperity and that it is probably the single best investment that can be made in the developing world. Not only are better-educated women more productive, but also they raise healthier, better-educated children. In this respect listen to this unique life story that was revealed in one of Opra Winfrey’s shows in the USA:

As a young girl in rural Zimbabwe, Tererai Trent lived without running water and electricity and had no hope for her future. “I remember very well my father pointing to my brothers and the other boys in the village and saying: ‘These are the breadwinners of tomorrow. We need to educate and send them to school. The girls will get married,’” she says. “And that was just a painful experience for me.”
Desperate to learn, this little girl secretly did her brother’s homework. “I learned to read and write from my brother’s books,” she says. Soon, Tererai’s secret was exposed, and the teacher begged her father to let her learn.
Tererai attended only two terms before she was forced to marry at age 11. By age 18, she was the mother of three. “When my husband realized that I wanted to have an education, he would beat me,” she says. “I have nightmares of that time of my life.”
In 1991, a visitor changed Tererai’s life forever. Jo Luck, from Heifer International, asked every woman about her greatest dream—something many of them didn’t know they were allowed to have. “I remember very clearly saying: ‘My name is Tererai, and I want to go to America to have an education, to have a BS degree, to have a master’s, and I want to have a PhD,” she says. “And she just looked at me and said: ‘If you desire those things, it is achievable.’”
Hoping her daughter could break the cycle of poverty, Tererai’s mother encouraged her to write her dreams on a piece of paper. The 20-year-old placed them in a scrap of tin and buried them under a rock in the pasture where she used to herd cattle. “As a woman without an education, life will continue to be a burden,” she wrote. “I truly believe in these dreams.”
Tererai not only broke the cycle, she shattered it. In 1998, Tererai moved to Oklahoma with her husband and now five children. Just 3 years later, she earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education. In 2003 – the same year her husband was deported for abuse – Tererai obtained her master’s degree.
After every achievement, Tererai returned home to Zimbabwe, unearthed her tin of dreams and checked off each goal she accomplished. In December 2009, the now happily remarried Tererai will realize her greatest dream of all—a doctoral degree.
Tererai is a symbol of hope in her village. On a trip home in 2009, Tererai and her mother encouraged a new generation of girls to dream. “My story is not about me, but it’s about what can come out of my story.” she says.

By the way – her beloved brother, from his books she learned and who is still her hero, died recently from AIDS.
(From the Opra show)

I am missing a few things in this story; for example, how did she have money to travel to the USA? Or how did she learn before immigrating to America as a mother to three or five? But still I feel that the story is inspiring. Not only the amazing will-power of Tererai and her ability to break the circle of poverty and ignorance, but also the simple wisdom of her uneducated mother who had the instinct to encourage her daughter to put her dreams on a piece of paper. To put dreams and desires in writing, by the way, is something that is being taught in every elementary coaching school around the world, as a simple technique to take your dreams ‘out of the closet’ and allow yourself to realize them. Amazingly, Tererai’s mother just knew about it…
(see Tererai’s photo below or in the blog)
Fireworks (55)
Shuka, Thursday, May 20, 2009



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