My name is Mark Ndagonera and I was born on 5 January, the same date on which my Mum died 17 years later. Since then, it has been so difficult for me to celebrate my birthday. I am the third born in a family of seven (four sisters and three brothers). The family members are abbreviated as Dr J.J. Mem (David, Ruth, Janet, Joseph, Mary, Esther, Mark)!
My Dad – Mr. H.B Ndagonera – is a retired soldier. Being elderly, he has nothing but to reap what he sows. The family is not well to do, but we are able to live by helping one another. As the privileged child from the family – the one who got a scholarship to study Prosthetics and Orthotics at TATCOT in Tanzania sponsored by 500miles, I have a role in helping my family members. I pay school fees for my elder brother and two of my sisters (who are all in tertiary education), house rent, monthly upkeep and other basic needs like food stuff. We are all happy because not only did 500 miles help me but also the entire family.
I have earned a diploma but my dream is to get a Bachelor’s Degree in the same profession so that I can achieve my level best and attain as much as possible.
Life after TATCOT
Mmmmmh, life after school is not a joke! It’s really a challenge and you have to show everybody out there that you can do it, putting the theory into practice.
I started working at Kamuzu Central Hospital (500 miles Centre – Prosthetics and Orthotics department) in October 2012 as soon as I finished the diploma course. Thanks to 500 miles for arranging everything so that I could secure a job in the Ministry of Health after completion of the course. Everything seemed to be smooth as I was fresh from University but I had to adjust myself to suit in the working environment.
Being close to other talented professionals and experienced staff makes you learn more techniques and skills on how best to deal with patients. I give my thanks to the staff members for contributing a lot to my life. We always work as a team and a family.
Having worked for 1 year at the Centre, I was chosen for the FK Exchange Programme – to work abroad, so that I can share my experiences with other staff and students and learn from them. This marked a breakthrough in my life for me and my entire family. I started exploring the world and went to Norway for 3 weeks for a preparatory course and then proceeded to Cambodia to work for 1 year.
During my tour, I learnt a lot, most importantly increasing my knowledge and working skills. My journey started in Tanzania (TATCOT) and visited Norway, Cambodia, India and Thailand. I am now proud to be back home in Malawi to show my skills.