Africa U graduate reflects on importance of university

I knew going back to Africa University and Mutare would bring back many memories. But, I had no idea how emotionally moved I would become to see the new and expanded AU, and hundreds of students roaming the campus.

I remembered back in 1993 when my sister dropped me off at one of the newly built dorms. The dorm overlooked a cleared ground, where the current administration building and the dining hall stand. The emptiness of the campus scared me. I shared with my sister that I was not sure whether it was a good decision to come to AU. As always, my sister smiled and said, “It will be all right.”

I can’t believe that was 20 years ago!

Today AU has grown so much, and even the little trees planted during my time on the campus have grown to incredible sizes. As I was walking around the campus I thought of my classmates and friends. I missed each moment I shared with them in a very profound way.

This time I was more grateful than ever for what AU had done for me. AU gave me a great education, a family, and a wonderful life in a country far away from home. Today, I see how special AU has been and will always be to the African continent.

Staying at the African Sun Hotel was also very special. I had no idea that the name “African Sun” would also have a huge impact on me. But it did. One morning I was looking outside my hotel window, I was astonished by the beauty of the rising sun behind the Cross Kopje. As I stared at the rising sun and the cross, I became overwhelmed with gratitude for what life has given me. I realized that the moment was spiritual. I dropped on my knees and thanked God for that special moment.

As I prayed and continued looking at the sun and the cross, I felt more hopefully that great things will happen in Africa, just like the beautiful rising African sun illuminating the cross at the hilltop. This experience helped me realize for the first time that, like the rising sun, and the cross at the hilltop; Africa University is truly the beacon of hope, peace and love for the entire world.

There is no way I will be able to repay the gift of unconditional love I have received from those who made it possible for me to attend AU. But I know that I can transmit the gift I have received to others through education. Today, I am glad that I am using my God-given gift to help others learn how to improve agricultural crops and produce more food. Thank you so much AU for giving me a chance to discover and apply my God-given talent.

Suza was born in Tanzania and graduated from Africa University’s faculty of agriculture and natural resources in 1996. He is currently on the faculty at Iowa State University, Department of Agronomy. He shared this reflection on his visit to the AU campus in Mutare (March 22-26) for the culmination of the university’s 20th Anniversary Celebrations.


Like what you're reading?  United Methodist Communications is celebrating 80 years of ministry! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community.  Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
Social Concerns
Bishop Julius C. Trimble. Photo by Tessa Tillett for the Indiana Conference.

'I believe in the resurrection and reparations'

Conversation, education, and truth and reconciliation are needed in the struggle to dismantle racism.
Social Concerns
Richard F. Hicks. Photo courtesy of the author.

Caught in a twilight zone of change

Even after the passage of civil rights laws, a white teen found change slow to come in the rural South of the 1970s.
Social Concerns
The Rev. Constance Hastings. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Constance Hastings.

When one's enemy becomes one's neighbor

A traumatic childhood memory, repressed for 40 years, came back to force United Methodist deacon Constance Hastings to confront racism in her upbringing.