I got the privilege to interview DENNIS MUGAMBI ELEGWA the SAC (Student Affairs Council) Chair Person in USIU-Africa. Words cannot explain how inspired I was by this young gentleman
Victoria: Hello, how are you?
Dennis: Am good Victoria, it’s a pleasure to be here.
Victoria: Well thank you! So tell me about yourself, who you are and what you do?
Dennis: I am Dennis Mugambi, the Chair person of SAC in USIU. I am a senior student doing criminal justice.
Victoria: That is great; tell me, did you see yourself being the Chairperson of Sac? I mean, how has your journey been?
Dennis: Well it’s been quite long but successful one. I come from a family of 5 children, 3 girls and 2 boys. My mother was and still is the bread winner. It is embarrassing to say but, my Father he is a live but does not provide for the family. This caused us to live in Dandora while we were growing up. I ended up on the streets collecting plastics that I would sell so that I could get some money for basic needs like food.
Victoria: Just from what you said, how were you able to finish high school and join university?
Dennis: All my siblings went to school but none of them went to university. This made my mother struggle a lot because she had sacrificed so much to pay their fees and none of them wanted to attain higher education. I wanted to make her proud. I decided to leave the streets and start haunting for a university, although, my grades were not good and the only place that could accommodate me was a private university.
Victoria: what did you want to study and why?
Dennis: I wanted to do criminal justice or human rights. I am interested in victims and wanted to be a victimologist (study victim behavior) .I went to Nazarene University to get the academic schedule. I had to walk all the way from Buruburu to Ongata Rongai to pick up the registration forms because I did not have enough bus fare. I decided to walk to the venue then when I come back in the evening I could be able to afford bus fare to go home.
Victoria: (surprised look) You mean you walked all the way to Ongata Rongai? Did you succeed in getting registered?
Dennis: I will not say it was easy but it was the only way. I was so determined to get my life together such that walking for approximately 40 km was not an issue. By coincidence, USIU-AFRICA had just started Criminal Justice program. Since USIU-Africa was closer to home, I decided that was the school for me.
Victoria: keeping in mind that USIU-Africa is a very prestigious school, how were you able to pay the fees?
Dennis: I saw the program on the newspaper and I wanted to join but my financial capacities become a problem. I decided to apply because I got help from a friend who gave me Sh 3,000 to pay for the application fee (2010). After my application, I had to start looking for the Sh 87,000 so that I could pay my fees. I went to my church and formed a committee to help me raise the school fees but since it was December holiday, everyone was busy with their family, so, the committee could not raise the money hence being disbanded.
This was a major setback for me but my Mother was there for me. We prayed and as always God answered. A percentage of my mother’s salary used to be deducted for the last 10 years. She had been trying to recover it but it was in vain. It’s true when they say, miracles happen. Luck was on her side this time round and I used it all to pay for my 1st semester (spring semester) school fees, 2011.
Victoria: That is good news. Finally you are in the school that would enable you fulfill your dreams and study criminal justice. How were you able to come up with the rest of the school fees?
Dennis: The 1st semester (spring semester) comes to an end and I had to start looking for the next batch of money to pay for the next semester but had no luck. If you had cleared the fees for the last semester you could register. I just registered for one course then I joined Michezo Africa, a drama club in USIU. This helped me to fill my spare time and also act. I am generally a shy person. I am only loud to people I know and this club helped me build my confidence and enjoy life a little bit by travelling to Mombasa and Nyeri for Drama festivals.
Victoria: (Laughter) only loud to people that you know. That is a view many introverts share. Michezo Africa helped you to widen your spectrum. The second semester (summer semester) ended and you had just done one course, how did you fair on?
Dennis: My mother took a loan to pay the fees deficit for the summer semester and the extra cash she used it to pay for 3rd semester (fall semester) and that is how my 2011 ended. The spring semester of 2012 came and I was not able to pay my fees because my mother was paying back the loan she took. She still remained the breadwinner of the house because I have so many siblings. I had no choice but to stop school for a while. I owed the school a total of Sh100000.
Part Two coming up soon……………….