Photo Credit: Salum Ndezi

Life Can Suddenly Change

When the New Year begins with 365 days ahead, I see 365 opportunities in my hands.

Story by Salum Ndezi. Edited by Melaina Dyck
DR of the Congo, Middle Africa
Published on March 14, 2021

Reading time: 4 minutes

This story is also available in de es kr



I was born in Bukavu city, the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. When I was five, my mother got sick with a disease called leprosy. My father took her to many hospitals around the city, but she was not recovering. My father used up all of his business capital paying for many hospital bills. Later, my mother’s legs became paralyzed and she couldn’t walk. So, my father took her to a better hospital in town, where she was treated and recovered and started walking like before. That hospital’s bill was very high. My father had to sell our house to pay it. Due to these circumstances of life, my parents moved from Bukavu to a village called Nyangezi.

I grew up in Nyangezi until I finished secondary school. Then, I left my parents and moved back to the city to pursue my university studies. I wanted to become an IT expert, but I couldn’t get into a university with a department of software engineering. So, I decided to look elsewhere and went to a university in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, our neighboring country. I crossed the borders and joined the university. I was so happy to experience a new country, new food, a new atmosphere, new culture and new friends. 


I was so happy to experience a new country

After a year and a half, my brother, who was paying for my school fee, rent and other expenses, lost his job when his furniture shop burned down in an electrical fire. Due to that unexpected situation, our lives became bitter. I was depending on my brother for everything. I did not have any family or friends in Kigali who could help, and no one else in my family could sponsor me because I come from a lower-income family. Because of anxiety, I lost 4 kilos within a week. Due to my financial situation, I needed to go back home. I planned to leave in two weeks because I was left with ten days of rent and a little food that could support me for fifteen days.


I needed to go back home. I planned to leave in two weeks

Four days before I was set to leave, I went to the library. There, I met a new friend, another immigrant who introduced himself when he heard me speaking Swahili. He changed my life when he told me that there were openings for French teachers in local primary schools.

I applied and I prayed to the Almighty God. He’s above everyone and everything and He’s the one who gives and takes. After five days, one school called me for an interview. Three days later, the headmaster called to tell me that I got the job. It was a miracle for me! I canceled all my plans to go back home.

When I got the job, I stopped studying for one semester to save money. After five months, I went back to the university to continue my studies, but my salary could not pay for the fee for software engineering. So, I changed to the department of English language and literature. Now I’m in my final year to graduate and I’m still teaching French.


I started believing that everything is possible in life

From the time I got the teaching job, I started believing that everything is possible in life.  When the New Year begins with 365 days ahead, I see 365 opportunities in my hands. I believe I need to be more creative, courageous, and live in good relationship with everyone I encounter. I say: even if you try and fail, don’t be disappointed. Always have an optimistic attitude of success because every situation in life is temporary. Life: it is all about timing.


Click to read more about how teaching French changed Salum's life


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Salum Ndezi

Salum Ndezi

I’m Salumu, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is the second widest country of Africa with more than four hundred tribes and more than four hundred fifty dialects. Kiswahili, Lingala, Tshiluba and Kikongo are the four national languages and French is an official one. It is a very rich country with its natural resources. But the biggest problems are the political instability, insecurity, war most in the eastern part of the country, and tribalism. And these bring us other big problems of poverty and hunger. Citizens cannot benefit from the resources of their own country. I observed and found out that people’s mentality must be changed, from all classes of people. And my only way to contribute to changing people’s mentality is through writing and sharing my ideas with everyone. Together we can make Congo, Africa and the whole world a better place.

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