Friday, May 20, 2011

Tererai Trent, A True Story of Inspiration!!!

Dr. Tererai Trent
We have all had those heart-warming moments on TV where we just find ourselves crying from so deeply within that our faces are the ugliest it has ever been. Not too often do I have those moments, and when I do, they are few and far apart.

Today, I had one of those moments. As I hesitantly watched the Oprah Show (I say hesitantly because I felt compelled to catch the final few episodes since I had not watched it for 2 years!), she talked about her favourite moments of the show and about people who were truly an inspiration to others.  Just as I was about to change the channel, she started to talk about a lady named Tererai Trent, who was from rural Zimbabwe.  A place where women were considered inferior  to men and were completely oppressed. Tererai and her family had no electricity or running water, which was the norm for the people there. Her father would constantly say how her brothers "needed" to be educated as they were tomorrow's breadwinners.  This made young Terarai's heart ache because she had wanted the same thing.

Tererai yearned for an education since her early childhood. Living in a country where only boys where allowed to be schooled and women were married off at a tremendously young age, Tererai would try to educate herself by sneaking and reading her brothers' school books and  doing their homework. She learned to read and write by doing this.

Somehow, a teacher found out about her secret efforts and ambitions and pleaded to her father to allow her  to attend school.  Tererai only completed two terms before she was married off at the age of 11!  By the age of 18, Tererai had already had three children. Almost unheard of in this part of the world, this was life for females in Zimbabwe.  When her husband heard of her dreams, he would beat her on a daily basis. She says that she has nightmares of that period of her life.

A visitor from Heifner International, Jo Luck, had visited Tererai's area in 1991 and changed her life forever.  She asked all the girls who were present what their dreams were. Although many of the other girls had none, not even believing that they could dream, Tererai said that she dreamt of moving to America and having an education. Not just a high school diploma either! Tererai said that she wanted to have a bachelor's degree, a master's and then her PhD. Tererai said Jo Luck looked straight at her and said that "if she desires those things, they are achievable."

Tererai's mother had also hoped her daughter could break the vicious cycle of poverty and encouraged her to take her dreams seriously. She instructed her to write her dreams onto a piece of paper, bury it and cover it with a rock.  Tererai did this. She fervently believed in these dreams she had had and wanted to accomplish them in order to help other females going through what she had for so long.

Tererai, in 1998, accomplished the first of her dreams by moving to Oklahoma with her then husband and five children.  All of Tererai's dreams were far from reality but just three years later, she earned her bachelor's degree in agricultural science.  Her husband's mentality was so primitive, in his mind that he could not stand to see a woman with more knowledge than he had and so he continued to abuse her. It was not until 2003, that he was deported out of the country for this very reason and Tererai earned her master's degree!

After she had achieved each dream, Tererai would return home to Zimbabwe, exume her dream tin and check off her accomplishments. She had one final dream to check off her list and did so in December 2009 by earning her doctoral degree!

Tererai continues to travel back home and with the help of her mother, they distribute stationary items to help girls in Zimbabwe. They even give them metals tins, as Tererai had had, to write down their dreams and bury them.  The story doesn't end there...

Dr. Trent on The Oprah Show
While on the Oprah Show today, Oprah, like myself, had become overtaken by tears. This was such an incredibly touching story of true faith and determination that Oprah donated  ONE MILLION DOLLARS to Tererai in order to start a school for children in her native land! This school ultimately will assist around 4,000 children in Zimbabwe in achieving their dreams. Oprah herself, had been so touched by this powerful story of personal triumph because of all the trials and tribulations she once had as a poor, black girl growing up in a once, segregated Mississippi.

Miracles happen everyday! I am a walking miracle as I was not supposed to be alive to tell my story or anyone else's for that matter since that horrible car accident in October 2009 that nearly killed me and my family.  The most incredible part of this story is that Tererai, like myself, had beaten the odds. But not only  had she beaten them, but took them down with full force! The second most amazing thing is that she wants  the very same for others like her. She knows how much harder it is to survive without a decent education.

Dr. Trent & Former U.S President Bill Clinton
When you have come to a point of success in life or feel as though you have reached an important goal, it is important to show your thankfulness to God by sharing what you have learned with others. It is the least you can do to show your appreciation by giving back. This story was so compelling, that I thought I would share with you to motivate and encourage you all to never give up on your dreams! ; )

Watch a clip of her story at:

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