Excerpts from the Diary of a Young Scholar

3 Kenyans win Chevening scholarships back in 2015. Image adapted from https://www.nation.co.ke/news/Christian-Turner-hands-top-UK–scholarships-to-30-Kenyans/1056-2865058-x8ah7vz/index.html

Mark sat in his study overlooking the sky blue sea on the Far East. His time in Sweden was almost coming to an end after completing his Master studies in Environmental Economics in a Swedish university. He was in Sweden for a two year Master scholarship.

Three years ago, Mark who hails from Kenya had tried in vain to secure a scholarship for further studies abroad. More than once, his friend Oketch had told him to stop wasting time applying for the so-called scholarships on the reason that competition is very stiff and few get to be accepted into the lucrative scholarship programmes.

Mark couldn’t believe he had come this far. He remembered one conversation he had with his friend Oketch back then about the scholarship that had just earned him a Masters degree.

It was one evening when Oketch got into the house and found his friend busy on the laptop. On taking a closer look, he realized his friend was busy digging up for scholarships on the scholarships for development website.

Oketch hissed,” Man! Are you serious you are still wasting your bundles on these scholarships stuff?”

“But why not?” Answered Mark. “It is worth trying; don’t you think?”

“Worth trying my foot! Oketch retorted.

“What’s the point of applying for these scholarships only to be given heart breaking regret emails? I will tell you these for free Mark and you can take it to the bank. The furthest you can go with these scholarship applications is that you will only get a partial scholarship that gets to foot your tuition fees but you will have to spend a lot on living expenses and accommodation from your own pocket. Poor you!” He added

Mark stared at Oketch wondering what had gotten into him that would make him so pessimistic. Still collected and unrattled by Oketch’s remark he told him off with a head shake and said, “Life is about choices and I will not choose to be limited by your limited mentality. I would rather try and thank God for the regret emails that come. At the very least, it will be worth noting that my application was received and underwent a competitive selection process rather than put my tail between my legs and cow off”

“Ha ha ha ha”, Oketch couldn’t control his laugher outburst. “You fool. So a regret email to you is what counts? And what is it you said you learn from the experience? Nothing at all.”

Mark had heard enough. Not able to hold his nerves anymore he made a u-turn landing on Oketch with a hot slap that sends him sprawling on the floor finally hitting his head on the bookshelf positioned nearby.

As if in solidarity with Mark, the bookshelf tilted a little and first let some books fall onto Oketch before coming after with a bang. Oketch had lost the fight.

Still seething in anger, Mark packed his laptop and left the room as Oketch tried to finish the fight with a lifeless book shelf.

Mark retreated into a friend’s house applied for a Swedish Institute scholarship and luckily for him, there were no regret emails this time around. He left his motherland for Sweden six months after and the rest is history.

A knock on the door bolted Mark back to reality after strolling down the memory lane. It was Jenipher his course mate who had stopped by to check on him.

“Hey Mark, How are you fairing on?”

“Hmmm…I’m doing fine Jenipher, how about you?” Mark replied.

“I’m good but no offense you don’t look yourself today?”

Aaah not at all. I’m good I’m good….” Mark answered almost repeating himself a dozen times. “Would you like something to drink?”

“Sure! Do you have red wine?” asked Jenipher.

“Oh yeah,” Mark says as he heads over to the kitchen and emerges with two glasses of red wine and hands one to Jenipher with a beaming smile.

“So, what next for you? See, you have successfully completed your Masters! You must be the envy of many out there?”

Mark chirped.

“Ooh c’mon, I’m grateful for the comments but it’s not over for me yet. I want to pursue a Ph.D. That has always been my goal from the very beginning” Said Jenipher who hails from Puerto Rico

Mark did not see this coming. For him, many issues were eating into his mind right now and his thoughts shifted between moving back to Kenya, getting married and settling down with a family or pursue further studies in Sweden or the larger Europe.

“I just don’t know what’s next for me?” Mark who is 33 years of age replied.

I need to settle down with a family but I’m still trying to figure out what’s more important to me now between a family and a doctorate degree”

“Maybe you should first settle down Mark. You can always come back for further studies. There is never an end to learning. Don’t you think?’ Jenipher tried hard to help.

“I wouldn’t agree more Jenipher but you realize that a family comes with added responsibilities that call for financial stability on my side something I’m not sure about now. Reason being that my previous company gave me no guarantee of re-employment after the completion of my studies.” Mark cried

Take it easy! Mark. At least be grateful you have come this far. “Jenipher said

Besides, I believe the knowledge you have right now is invaluable and gives you the capacity to develop your country towards sustainable development goals. How about writing a business plan and work on a coming up with a social enterprise that will be line with SDG goal of eradicating hunger and poverty. You don’t need the money, you just need to present your ideas to the right people.”

The creases on Mark’s forehead seemed to disappear as he let his cheek muscles relax into an irresistible smile.

“Yes! You are now talking baby!” Mark shouted.

However, as much as Mark delightedly embraced the idea, he was not oblivious to the fact that the entrepreneurial journey is not for the faint-hearted but comes with a lot of hard work, persistence, the right strategy and the right team to work with.

That is something he would have to consider before delving further into the matter.

Well, the universe has a way of supporting and rewarding the dreamers and go-getters. According to the Law of Compensation- The Universal Law is the Law of Cause and effect applied to blessings and abundance that are provided for us. The visible effects of our deeds are given to us in gifts, money, inheritances, friendships, and blessings.

Mark came out of his victim stature and took life by the neck taking responsibility for every single action in his life having made the resolve that for anything to be it’s all going to be about him.

Mark is now the CEO of Daltic Agriculture, a non-governmental organization that works to eradicate hunger in the lives of small-scale farmers by offering consultancy and soil testing services at affordable rates to help farmers ascertain their soil nutritional and pathological status thus able to make informed choices on what kind of fertilizers will meet their soils nutritional deficiency. Besides, the tests help identify soil born pests and diseases and offer suitable recommendations on what measures farmers could put to use to help treat and cushion their soils against diseases.

The organization is now in the process of training and equipping farmers with soil testing kits that will prove handy in enabling farmers sought out soil issues by themselves.

You alone will make that decision to chart your life forward no one else will.

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