Undeterred: Marvelous Fungurani’s Inspiring Journey to Earning Her University Degrees

She learned to live with grace. Grace from above. Grace for her own journey. As disheartening as it was, she became proud of her imperfectly beautiful story.

Marvelous Fungurani walked The Weight She Carries through how mercy rewrote her life and how she herself had to make painful sacrifices to reach her goals of attaining an education. She narrated how the journey has been so far.

My name is Marvelous Memory Fungurani and I am 33 years old. Born in Glen Norah in [Harare, Zimbabwe], I attended my primary school at Ruvheneko Primary.

From as far as I can remember, I was always at the top of my class. My mother would buy an outfit to wear at the prize-giving ceremonies well in advance because she knew that I would excel no matter what. And that was all the motivation I needed.

Unfortunately, my mother passed away in 1999 suddenly. I was in Grade 7 at the time. It was such a huge blow to the family financially as my mother would provide the bulk of our needs. Due to my father’s wartime injuries, he had to retire earlier than expected because at times the shrapnel in his skull causes him mental illness.

After the death of my mother, I had no choice but to take up the role of mother to my two siblings. Life was difficult. Money was scarce during that time, so much that we could not afford basic school uniforms. I remember I used the same pair of shoes from Grade 7 to Form 2 and also one tunic and an oversized inner shirt that was passed down to me by someone.

Even as I proceeded to Form 3, I still had to attain hand-me-downs because there was still no money to purchase new uniforms. The situation was worse because the school shirt, which used to be my brother’s, was supposed to be beige, so I had to tint it with black tea to attain the beige colour! Despite all the trials and tribulations, my school work was never affected. I continued to excel nonetheless.

My prayer after Form 4 [high school] was that a miracle would happen and someone would pay for me to proceed to A-levels and it did [happen]. My uncle came through for me. I continued to work hard and excelled again.

Unfortunately, I could not continue to university due to a lack of funds. Despite the setback, I continued to apply to various universities and was accepted. I still had faith that God was going to come through even though I did not know how.

It was in 2007 when the names of the successful applicants at the Women’s University were published in the newspaper. I showed the list to one of the pastors at church – her name is Concilia – as she knew my situation. I got the shock of my life when one of the pastors called me and asked me if I was related to Concilia because she had asked the church to garnish her salary to pay my tuition.

I broke down in tears. Her gesture moved the other pastors so much that their organization decided to pay instead.

The first semester went smoothly. Come second semester, the organization hit hard times and could not continue paying. I was devastated [by] the news. As the second [semester] came around, I attended lectures whilst dodging the fees roll call. As the fees accumulated, the school became stricter. I could not hide anymore. As always, God intervened because I was signed under a scholarship at the university and that is how I completed it.

I can look back and see God’s intervention because even after completing my program, I discovered that the scholarship had not been paid at all, and when I look, I realize that God had covered me all the way to the end. I also recall how my stepmother, who was a maid, sacrificed to buy me a very nice blazer and pants to wear at university. It touched my heart.

My desire was to further to my master’s, but as usual, without finances, I couldn’t. And as usual, God showed up. My fees were cleared up as the new government came into power.

The journey has been long and hard. As a woman, I am expected to be married and settled by 30 at least, but I had been unlucky in the relationship department. The men were not supportive of my dreams.

I have led a painful life, but I have used school as my distraction and pressed on. l had no tuition to carry on with my masters, and l thought that my future husband would help complete my dream but it was clear that the men in my life would never help me even though there were more than capable of doing it.

God wanted to show me that He alone is God. Life was hard, and my dream seemed superficial to others, especially having worked for years and having nothing to show. Still, I owed it to my mother to achieve this dream because l had vowed to her that l was going all the way to the top.

Through hard work, prayers and fasting, and most importantly, people who love me and believed in me, God showed up and showed off! And now besides my undergrad and executive business marketing management accolades, I [have] a Master of Sociology and Social Anthropology.

My goal is to carry on with my education, either a master’s in public health or PhD in sociology. Women and development are where my heart lies. I would love to establish a nongovernmental organization as I am already helping a few people. Strangers have come through for me all these years, and that is why I feel a strong need to reciprocate. Where family failed, God aligned people along my path, and for that I am grateful.

If it were not for God’s mercy, I do not know where I would be today. God has inspired every step of my life. Even though I am faced with a situation of fibroids, I have faith that God will heal me.

To all the women out there, never allow a man to deter you from achieving your goals and dreams. I had to sacrifice a job and man just to achieve my goals so far.

Marvelous continues to aim for greatness and is determined that nothing can hinder her from success with God by her side.

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