A few months ago I met Jessina for the first time. Jessina is brimming with enthusiasm and faith and I want to share the way she lives constantly in the knowledge of the goodness of God.
She calls herself a proud African—African because her mother is from Kenya and her father from Zimbabwe. She has lived in Botswana, South Africa and Kenya. Jessina also calls herself a desert baby, because she was born in a semi-arid region in the hottest year ever recorded. She still loves the heat.
The place Jessina first knew as home was Botswana which is where her parents migrated in the 90s in search of work. Her mother was a nutritionist turned high school educator, and her father a graphic advertisement designer. She remembers Botswana being pleasant and straightforward.
In 2006, Jessina’s family relocated to South Africa. Now came the first new land where the other children looked at her differently because of her darker complexion and apparent accent. However, she still had a loving sister and a caring mother, all she needed, she recalls, to be the happiest child anyone could ask. So it was that until the age of 11, her life was truly blissful, and Jessina lived content in her bubble of school, Mama, Dada, and Maria.
It was then that life began to change and suddenly the child had to become an early adult.
Read the rest of Jessina’s story in Stories of Andrews at andrews.edu/stories.
Thank you, Jessina, for sharing your story with us and for living the spirit of Andrews in your optimistic and hopeful faith.
Marenga, Jessina W., "Stories of Andrews: Jessina Wangui Marenga" (2017). World Changers Made Here. 9.