Mount graduate grateful for educational opportunities
Monday, August 23, 2010
By Eileen Connelly, OSU
ST. LAWRENCE DEANERY — There was a time in the not too distant past when a college education in the United States seemed out of reach for Eucabeth Mose. A chance conversation, however, led to possibilities that the young Kenyan woman would never have imagined, including graduating from the College of Mount St. Joseph in May.
The youngest of nine children, Mose is a member of the Luo community, a large and diverse tribal group in Kenya. Her mother passed away when Mose was just a small child, and she was sent to live with a cousin. Although the little girl would have preferred to spend her time playing and dancing, Mose’s cousin stressed that her education must come first and, in spite of the impoverished conditions in which they lived, did everything possible to make that happen.
|Eucabeth Mose, right, poses with her friend, Valentine Wanga, at a College of Mount St. Joseph scholarship fundraiser in the spring. (Courtesy photo)
“She was a good mom to me,” Mose said. “She told me that if I studied hard, I could go anywhere and do anything.”
Mose did well in her studies and went on to attend St. Theresa of the Child Jesus High School, also excelling academically there. To save money for college, Mose then went to work selling fish by the roadside. Engaging in conversation with a neighbor who passed by one day, Mose learned of the Zawadi Africa Educational Fund, a non-profit organization that benefits brilliant young women from underprivileged backgrounds, providing scholarships at U.S. colleges. Among those institutions was the Mount, where Mose applied and was accepted.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “It was a dream come true for me. When I was in high school, I would tell my friends that one day I’d go to the United States, but they didn’t take me seriously.”
Mose quickly jumped to take advantage of all the college has to offer. During her freshman year, she became involved in the student government association and went on to serve as a campus ambassador, orientation leader and peer tutor.
Aware of the gift she had been given to continue her education, Mose also became active in the college’s service learning program as a way to reach out to others. During her sophomore year, Mose served as a pastoral care assistant at Mother Margaret Hall, a long-term care facility for retired Sisters of Charity. She also worked as a medical records assistant at Crossroad Health Center in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine.
In addition, Mose found ways to assist people at home. She coordinated the building of a Habitat for Humanity house for her brother and his family, and last year, with the help of her roommates, established a non-profit organization to aid Kenyan children.
Currently undergoing a name change, the organization identifies youth from poor backgrounds and provides the funds for them to attend boarding school, where they benefit greatly from the atmosphere, Mose said.
“Having adequate housing and good food means they concentrate on their schoolwork and perform better. The three children we have sponsored so far (a boy in the seventh grade and two sixth-grade girls) are at the top of their classes this year,” she said.
The cost to educate a child is minimal compared to U.S. standards, Mose noted, just $500 per year. She and her roommates have raised funds for the children through private donations and by selling African jewelry and carvings. They hope to expand their efforts in the future to assist more children and ultimately make a difference in many lives.
“In many Third World countries young people are used to corruption from the leaders. They think it’s normal,” Mose explained. “We hope to educate young people and raise them up to show them that things can be different. I want them to know what is right and that we do have a good country. We can do this by raising strong leaders from the beginning.”
Mose said she is particularly grateful for the chance the College of Mount St. Joseph provided for her to develop her faith. “I was happy to be able to attend Mass and other religious celebrations,” said Mose, who served as a eucharistic minister. “In a Catholic school, you just feel like you have God with you all the time. After a long, hard day, it was so nice to be able to go the chapel to relax and pray.”
Mose’s determination and experience at the Mount have inspired her family members and friends to continue their education. Her younger sister is currently attending college in Wisconsin, and an older sibling is now planning to return to high school.
“I think the people at home see me as a role model now,” Mose said. “They’ve seen what I was able to do, and it encouraged them. Everything I’ve ever wanted has happened, and I feel great.”
Mose is currently working as a research assistant in the division of allergy and immunology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She eventually hopes to go to medical school then return to her own country to do her part to improve its health system.