By Dr. Harriet Sakala, FAWEZA Alumni
Being one of the 117 medical doctors who recently (November 2016) graduated from the University of Zambian medical school, is more than just a dream come true for me. It is proof that taking one step at a time and taking that leap of faith can take you to heights only imagined. It is prof to me that God keeps His word in watching over our lives. It is proof that no matter how small a helping hand may seem, it is adds to the bigger composition of a dream.
What was once only a dream is today my reality. The journey has been long and windy. Full of pain, tears, struggles and sometimes moments of joy. This dream stemmed from childhood as I was in and out of hospital never knowing if I would survive each admission, I grew up believing that one day I will be on the other side of the hospital bed being the one helping someone in distress.
But as life would have it at one point in my journey I had to withdraw from University due to ill health. We thought it was almost the end of world. However I eventually got better and got readmitted into school. I completed my first Bachelor of Science degree in Parasitology and Entomology aided by the government bursary.
This for me was not the end, but just my beginning, as i was later admitted into medical school. This time I was not considered for the government bursary. So I began the struggle for financial support. During this period my family could not fully meet the financial demand of the programme. In a nutshell it took a combined effort from my family, Prof Glynis from Warwick University and FAWEZA to enroll and complete medical school. I am forever grateful for this.
FAWEZA accepted my earnest application for support. I was then awarded a partial scholarship which paid for my 5th year in medical school and part of my 6th year tuition fees. Without this support I would have not been able to get to this point. FAWEZA believed in the dream of a simple Zambian girl. I completed this part of my journey because people out there believed in me enough that they committed their resources towards my education.
Being in medical school was by far the most challenging phase of my life. Not only did I have to face financial constraints but I had to fight many battles with my inner self. At some point, I questioned my ability to pursue medicine. This is when exams seemed difficult or when I had to see dead bodies...it brought shivers down my spine.
I learnt that in life we fall down, but then get up. The show most go on. The obstacles faced were the building blocks for my growth. At the time the future was blurred but today I see it all. The hard times led to this one moment…the day I would acquire a new title, DR.HARRIET SAKALA. I have learnt that anything is possible no matter how hard it gets or how impossible it may seem. As my Dad would always say, “Put your foot in the door and open a world of possibilities."