because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tererai Trent

In the Shona language of Zimbabwe, the word "tinogona" means "it is achievable."And in-your-face woman Tererai Trent knows this very well first hand.

Born in the mid-1960's, Trent was told early and often that women are for marriage and not for school. So she tried to learn by doing her brother's homework, but it didn't prevent her from being married off at eleven-years-old to a man who beat her for wanting an education. Still, beatings or no, she worked as a community organizer and used her meager earnings to pay for correspondence courses while she bore and cared for the three children she had before she turned eighteen.

Two more children and many beatings later, Trent and her husband moved to the United States and she became adamant that she must have a college education. So, by 2001, she was awarded her Bachelor's degree in agricultural education at Oklahoma State University. Then, two years later, she earned a Master's degree and waved good-bye to her husband as he was deported for domestic violence. And in late 2009, this in-your-face, you-cannot-make-me-quit woman earned her Ph.D. with a dissertation on HIV/AIDS prevention programs for women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa.

Impressed by her courage and perseverance, media mogul Oprah Winfrey interviewed Trent on her television program and then gave her $1,500,000 to build a school for girls in Zimbabwe. Some in-your-face women live their whole lives on a wing and a prayer. Others don't.

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