Perseverance and determination are what can best describe 28-year-old, University of Namibia graduate, who rose from a sickly bed to become a skilled fisheries and aquaculture science academic.
Chosen Sitentu Mauno from Rundu in Kavango East, graduated last week at the University of Namibia with an Honours Degree. This is despite having spent a year nursing a heart ailment at home, forcing him to delay his university studies in 2016. Without hope and only with faith as his weapon of strength, Mauno beat the race out of the death bed, and enrolled again in 2018.
The young unemployed but determined student, was diagnosed with a heart problem while in his first year in 2016. Following that, he had to undergo a heart surgery in 2017, thereby forcing him to remain at home for a full recovery. Mauno says, his journey through out his upbringing was not an easy one, but was always driven to break the generational poverty that the family was going through, of which education was the only way out.
“Throughout I kept my head straight and focused, for that, I knew one day I will be able to become someone in life, but the only way out is education. I went through many challenges, from having insufficient tuition fees to maintaining daily lifestyle of having to put bread on the table,” narrated Mauno of his journey.
He says, in 2016 when embarking on the journey to the capital city which was his very first time, Mauno only had N$6000, hoping it would cover both tuition and hostel. Little did he know that the amount was neither close to sorting out tuition neither hostel. But still, he remained hopeful.
“I got the stress of my life when it was time for orientation when I was told hostel payment was over N$9000 on the spot, and by then I had less N$6000 because i have been using it for transport and food. However, i approached the hostel head shortly after orientation, a certain Aron, whom I told my ordeal, and with good understanding, promised to help without revealing he would do,”
“Days went by, and I was losing hope, and thinking of returning to Rundu and enrol for lower primary education, something I never wanted to do. I could not call home to inform my mom of how difficult things were becoming, because that was going to be additional stress knowing already her status. In short, on the last day of registration I got a call from Mr Aron, informing me I have been awarded a bursary. This was a complete miracle and in disbelief, and happy at the same time,” he added.
After that, the brilliant Mauno, embarked on the educational journey until in April when he felt a mild headache which worsened. He then approached DEAN of students, which then sought emergency services, leading to his hospitalisation. Four days later after medical tests, he was informed his aorta was three times large and was on the verge of bursting.
“I was shocked because i seemed just fine and never thought it was this serious, by then I had to be released because my first semester exams were knocking, to which doctor agreed and told me to continue returning for regular check-ups,” he said, adding he passed his first semester, as well as the second semester.
“Since then it was a back and forth with doctor consultation, then I was told I will undergo surgery in January 2017, but this never happened until in April. Finally, the time came, and this was on the fourth, a life-changing operation which lasted for eight hours. After that, one of my veins was cut in the process and had to be replaced. Things changed for the worst, and had to be remanded at home, where I would just medicate without doing any heavy work.” 2017 went by as a wasted academic year, and gracefully 2018 he made his second debut, capitalising on all lost time, and rode through the challenges of assignments, test and examination until last year (2021) bagging the much rated degree. Despite his success, Mauno lost his bursary mid-way and had to rely on good Samaritans to assist with food, clothing and toiletries.
“There was a Ms Swartz who had a takeaway outlet at Unam, she really helped me a lot with food, plus my lecturer Ms Kadhila and a former high school teacher at Elcin Nkurenkuru, without them even attending graduation, even worse collecting my degree would still be a distant dream as I owed Unam,” said a down to earth Mauno, who says the Bible was his best comforter.
He is however still unemployed, and lives in Walvis Bay where he’s searching for a better life.