Nibimenya (Burundi)

My name is Nibimenya. People call me by my last name because where we came from, in Burundi, Africa, we go by our last name.  No, my whole family doesn’t have the same last name. My family came here December 12th, 2007.  I was 8 almost 9 years old.

I started school in the 2nd grade for 3 months and the school moved me into 3rd grade because that was the right grade for my age. During those years, not understanding what my classmates were doing or what the teacher was teaching (because of my language and educational difference) hurt my feelings.  I wanted to do the same thing everyone else was but instead I had to sit and write my name and my ABC’s over and over again.  While I was working hard to learn to write in English, I got behind and this is something I feel that people do not understand.

The rest of my elementary school years were much of the same thing.  Practicing English and handwriting.  In Middle school, it was a little bit different.  I was taking some of the same classes as the other students but I still did not understand much of what was being taught.  I had never learned what everyone else was taught, but again, they passed me on to the next grade.

I would often ask my older sister or brother how to spell words that I should have known how to spell.  My mom began to feel that I needed to change schools because I was not learning much of anything at the school I was at.  In the 8th grade, I began a new school, The Neighborhood School.  My mom had tried hard to put me in that school when I was in 5th grade but they said they did not take anyone who was already in middle school. My mom tried yet again in the 8th grade and this time I was accepted.

One of my teachers at The Neighborhood School told me my reading was on a 3rd grade level. So, my 8th grade year I worked hard with my teachers to get on a reading level that was more normal for my age.   During this time, I took 8 classes.  One was all by myself beside one teacher. She taught me so well and so many things. My Christian faith grew with this teacher as well.  I wrote essays about my life and stories from the Bible.  I wrote letters to my parents and more. My faith grew day by day and I felt God had me in the right place.

I went on to High school and took the classes I needed but never knew they had honors classes and standards classes. I have worked so hard in high school to get to take the honors classes.  I just knew I could take them and pass, so I requested to take all honors classes.  I was allowed to take two honors classes in 10th grade!  The following year I requested to take more honors classes and I was allowed a chance to take all honors classes for the 11th grade.  I passed them all!

I currently in the 12th grade, my last year of high school.  It is kind of sad for me to write that I am not going to be able to go to college.  The college I wanted to go to will not allow me to because my ACT score was too low for their acceptance standards. I took the ACT in the 11th grade and had no idea what I was doing.  I only got a 13 for my score. When I received the test back, I did not understand the importance of this test.  At that time, I really did not think the score mattered much. I took the ACT again in the 12th grade. I was not happy with my score. The test makes me anxious; I never want to see it again because I just do not understand it.

I love school and want to go on to college, but I will just have to wait. I plan to go back to college in the year 2019, God willing. It is a good thing that I caught up on my grades, took and passed all those honors classes which I felt like I needed to take in order to be where everyone else was.  I am sad, however, that all my hard work landed me here.  I cannot go get into the college I want to go to.  I really thought that if I could get myself to all the other student’s level that I would get to go on to college.  I wanted to study social work and business but no, not for now.

God has been blessing me each day and I just know he won’t stop now. I am very thankful. I thank God for everything in my life.  I have 11 siblings.  Two of which are in college and had faced the same challenges I did, but God has worked with them and they are getting somewhere!  My older siblings are examples to me.  I thank God for the many people who have helped me and my family to be where we are today. God has truly showed His face to my family.  We are just blessed. If you have God, you have no reason not to be thankful because the bad things that happen in your life will shape you to be who you are. And for those good things, be thankful not everyone has what you have.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. ”  –1 Peter 5:6

God makes all things work out for the good of those who loves him and are chosen to be part of his plan.”  -Romans 8:28

Mitchell Koch’s University of Memphis newspaper, The Helmsman, did an article on our friend: Nibimenya (Nadine). 💕. Thanks also to reporter John Klyce!


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