Bizimungo John: Former Student, Future Doctor

There are some people you meet, and you know right away they are special. Bizimungo John is one of those people. I met him when Lorene Joos and I visited IYH operations in Makondo, when he was working for Into Your Hands.   I was struck by his warmth, curiosity and intelligence. We spent some long days, and Bizi was always there, engaged, with a big smile on his face looking for a way to help or learn. He loved Justin Timberlake and wanted to be a doctor, but I didn’t get a chance to hear his story.

A couple of years later Bizi was admitted to medical school. A few of us have helped him with tuition and fees. He is now in his senior year. I asked him to share his story:

Bizi is 24, from Rwanda. His parents moved the family (5 children, 4 boys and a girl) to Uganda in 2002, after losing most of their people in the genocide. They eventually settled in Makondo in 2005 where his father took care of cattle and his mother worked on farms. Bizi did his last three years at Makondo Primary School then completed four years at St Denis with an Into Your Hands Scholarship, then went to Makasa Secondary School for his Advanced level, then came to work for Into Your Hands. “Working with the organization gave me a lot of exposure. I got to serve my community and learned some business skills which will help me going through life.”

His father, was an inspiration and a mentor. Before Bizi started school, his father taught his kids and others from the neighborhood to read and write and di basic math. “He had not gone far with education but he wanted us to study. He told me that he wanted me to be a doctor, so I followed that path which in the end has happened to be the right one. In 2014 when he was dying it was hard for us to get a doctor…which further inspired me to go to med school to be able to reach out to people in rural areas who can’t access health services.”

He closed his story this way:” I am so happy that I am now completing medical school and for the support I have been given, I am so grateful. I have made friends and we have been able to give basic health services and other basic needs like clothes which we donate to the people in remote areas where we visit. I hope to graduate and be able to help the communities even more. I would love to specialize in pediatrics and help underprivileged children.

I have three brothers and one sister and they mean everything to me. I love soccer and am a fan of Lionel Messi who plays for Fc Barcelona. I listen to Justin Timberlake and a lot of Nigerian music. My best food is matooke and ground nuts”.

Bizi is worried about the effect the corona virus will have on his country. All activities are locked down and people who are desperately poor are unable to work. He sees pregnant women walking long distances to access care. Somehow, I am sure, Bizi will find a way to do his share and more to help.- Written by Judy O’Brien, Current Volunteer and Former IYHA Board Member