Making the right choices makes all the difference.
Subject: Women college students (Health aspects)
Women college students (Social aspects)
Pub Date: 06/01/2008
Publication: Name: Sister Namibia Publisher: Sister Namibia Audience: Academic; General Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences; Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 Sister Namibia ISSN: 1026-9126
Issue: Date: June, 2008 Source Volume: 20 Source Issue: 2
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Namibia Geographic Code: 6NAMI Namibia
Accession Number: 184550004
Full Text: Maggie's story continues ...

Domestic problems, lack of motivation and loneliness placed Maggie, a girl in her final year of school, 'in an invisible cage that stole her joy and security'. In a reply to an article, Life after grade 12, published in Sister Namibia in December 2005, she made a call for help and expressed her fears of a future in poverty. The feedback she received by Julia, another reader of the magazine, gave her a different view of life. In January 2008 Julia met up with Maggie again.

Julia: Maggie, what is your new view of life?

Maggie: Anyone can have problems. You have to make the right choices to solve each one. I asked for help, and through private financial support I am today able to pursue my tertiary education at UNAM. The journey was never easy. As a first year student I had to catch up fast or risk missing out on valuable information. I had to run around campus in the scorching sun to read notice boards and research for assignments. It was very tiresome and sometimes I thought, Why do I bother?

J: So why did you bother?

M: I knew that it is worth every effort and energy. I learned many things and I appreciate the wonderful people who are helping me out. Making the right choices makes all the difference

J: Do you receive any other support beside financial?

M: I get motivated by my family. I also have three best friends. We help each other by sharing information.

J: Was it easy to find a place to stay?

M: No, (laughs) no! At first, I wanted to stay on my own so that I could study in peace. I managed to rent a room in Pioneerspark, but my landlady was an alcoholic, so I moved out. I then shared someone's room in the hostel for some rent. After a while I found out that that was actually illegal. I got a placement in a common room - so bad! The roof was leaking, the floor was scabbed and it was so large. Again I moved, this time to the new hostel, where I had my own room, but it was still difficult - parties till late at night and loud music. I finally moved into a double room, which is much safer.

J: Have you experienced any problems with the guys in the hostel?

M: Definitely! There are always guys who are trying to intimidate or fool you. There was one guy who said he can help me out with some notes. He took me to his room and was very friendly and nice. I didn't recognise the threat. Suddenly he started asking funny questions: "So, do you have a boyfriend? Wanna sit on the bed with me?" I just asked him for the notes, but he told me that he had already given them to his cousin. I told him he was a jerk and left the room.

J: How do you feel as a young woman at university?

M: I concentrate on my studies. I don't really get affected by men. To me they are young guys who want attention, and try to get into women's pants. I know very well how to handle people. If someone is disrespectful or insults me, I'll just ignore them.

J: Is HIV and Aids an issue at UNAM and is there a difference in the way men and women approach it?

M: Absolutely. Students want to be wild. Every month there is a party at UNAM and alcohol is always involved. They have sex without condoms, so HIV is a part of it. People discuss how they like to have different boyfriends or girlfriends and have sex with them. To them it's a thrill. I keep away from those gatherings, I have other values. Everybody knows about HIV but they are careless. Many think it won't happen to them! Men are maybe a bit more careless as they go around! Women are more attached to one partner!

J: Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts so openly.
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.