The month of August 2000 had been a great one. I had gotten the opportunity to see so many exciting places. But it was time to head back home to Zambia. I had missed my friends from school. But I couldn’t go back empty-handed at least I had to buy something small for all the girls in my class.
School had already begun as we bade goodbye to Denver, Colorado and started the long journey home. I knew I was missing out on the Geography field trip to Kabwe, and that was a bummer.
We were in such a rush when we arrived home in the first week of September because we had to pack and leave for school. It was a Monday morning when my Father drove us down to Mksuhi. It was so good to see the campus. The scenery had always captivated me right from the very first time I had set foot on the campus. As we drove to the front of my hostel, I could see my friends outside as they strolled in from their classes. Once my Father packed the Van, I got out and began to bring out my pieces of luggage. Soon I was surrounded by my friends who helped me to take my things to my room. I quickly said goodbye to my parents and my brother as they left for their journey back to Ndola.
I quickly dropped off my stuff in my bedroom and got my bag ready for the afternoon classes. It was so good to be back home. Yes, Chengelo was and will always be one of the places I call home. I was excited to see the guys and hear what they had been up to during the holiday.
Later that day, I got excellent news, the results for our French and Religious Studies were out, and I had passed with flying colours. I had gotten an A in Religious Studies, that news did not shock anybody, it was my French result that had me shook, I got a B. I did not believe it until my French Teacher Mrs S, congratulated me. I could not believe it, I mean I had worked hard and put in all the effort, but still, I was just surprised. Perseverance had borne fruit. It was a lesson to me that if you dedicated your time and effort, you could accomplish things you thought impossible.
As the weeks went by, I spent most of the time studying. I was strengthened and encouraged by my French and Religious Studies results. Also, I knew where I wanted to go next. Biola University in La Mirada, California, was calling my name even in my sleep. Travelling and getting to see the world outside Zambia on my recent trip to the US had further opened my eyes to the opportunities out there.
Five weeks later it was time for the midterm break. I was so ready for the chance to breathe in and exhale. The past few weeks had been so busy, going to class and studying for the upcoming exams. As individuals and as a group, we had gone over and over again through the past question papers looking at all the ways we could be tested on the d-day.
Bright and early on a Saturday morning, my parents had come to pick us up. I packed a few things and all my books and study notes and climbed into the van, ready to spend some time with family. That week, although I studied a bit, I spent time watching movies and relaxing while also enjoying home-cooked meals.
Before I could count to 10, the midterm break was over, and my Dad was driving us back to school. For the first time, I was so nervous about going back to school. This was it, something we had been preparing for since we began Form 3 was finally here. In a couple of weeks, I would be done with secondary school. But before then I had some important exams to take. There was the IGCSE’s and the SAT’s two Mountains I had to climb.
On dropping us off, my dad called me into the car for a discussion before his journey back to Ndola. I should have seen it coming, the lecture that is. He began by recounting our journey as a family and then talked about how important getting an education was and how it had been worth it despite the expense. Then he spoke about how it would look like if I failed my exams after all that time and sacrifice. You should have seen my face. I felt like he had drained the very life out of me. To his defence, he thought he was giving me a pep talk. But in reality, he was killing me, I felt like he had no confidence in me, and I felt even more pressure now.
I got down from the front seat where I sat for the discussion, said goodbye and quickly walked into my room. I brought out all my books and began to read like the whole world was about to cave in. Our first paper was the next day, History one of my favourite subjects, and yet I suddenly wasn’t sure of my ability. Thankfully, Mrs S, my French teacher, came into the common room and found me hard at work.
Bethany, why don’t you get a good night’s rest. You will do fine. You are an intelligent young lady.
I got up, packed my books and went to my room to sleep. Tomorrow was another day and the beginning of the busiest time of my life. But before I closed my eyes, I prayed for wisdom and strength. Then I remembered a verse my Father had given me when I was in boarding school in Nigeria.
I can do all this through him who gives me strengthPhilippians 4:13 (NIV)