Kiki & Lala

Impossible Is Nothing

Posted on: November 16, 2009

Meet my hero of the month.  Her name is Tererai Trent and after I tell you all about her, she will probably be your hero too.  She was born in a poor village in Zimbabwe.  Like many women living there, her father married her off at age 11 to some man who constantly beat her.  Being married at such a young age obviously made it impossible for her to finish elementary school.  So she lived her life as an uneducated, abused wife and mother.  Typical story that we are all too familiar with, right?  Not her story. 


Check out that tiny hut she called home!

One day, her village was visited by this lady called Jo Luck, who heads Heifer International.  During this visit, Ms. Luck talked about the power of women and the power of women with dreams.  So with that as inspiration and the encouragement of Ms. Luck, Tererai listed several goals. 


Jo Luck with Tererai to her right

She aspired to get an education abroad, a bachelors, a masters and a doctorate no less!  She ended up working for Heifer as a community organizer and used her money to take courses that would qualify her for education abroad.   She eventually got accepted to Oklahoma State University.  She didn’t want to leave her 5 children with her abusive husband because she knew that he would just marry them off.   So she took the children along with her husband to Oklahoma.  Heifer offered to pay for her tickets and her family and friends sold off cows and goats and whatever they could sell to help her start off in the US of A.  With her husband and childern in tow, she flew here with the money raised by selling the barn – $4,000 I believe.   Like many who are in the quest of their life, moving wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.  With limited cash, they lived in a trailer which didnt do much to protect them from the extreme weather.  Her husband refused to be a house-bund and do any house work.  Instead he continued to  physically abuse her.   It came to a point where she was eating from trash cans!   She couldn’t just give up because she needed to make her life an inspiration for the many African women looking to her as their torch bearer of hope.  Too much was at stake.  So she “just kept on trucking.” 

Just when she was about to get expelled from school for falling back on tuition, her angel came in the form of some university executive.  He managed to raise funds to keep her in school.  His church provided Tererai and family with food.  Habitat for Humanity provided them with a decent home and she gathered the strength to have her husband deported for domestic abuse.  Pretty tele novela-ish life , don’t you think?  So where is she now?

Well, her husband came crawling back with his tail between his legs and with AIDS!  So she took him back and nursed him until he died.  Imagine that, she took back the one man that endangered her life and nursed him! She eventually remarried (happily) and finished her doctorate.  Her dissertation was on AIDS prevention in Africa.   She now works with Heifer as a program evaluator.  How amazing is that? 

This is a story of love, hope, perseverance and most important, a story of sharing, sharing even when it hurts. this is also a great anecdote to show that inspite of the bureacracy and corruption, aid organizations do work!  She still has that piece of paper where she listed down her goals.  Now she can tick off her final goal which was to get a doctorate.  From a destitute, abused woman in Africa, she has evolved into an empowered woman and mother with a Ph.D.   “Declare it and the universe conspires to make it happen”!


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