From Our Scholar Blogs:

Determination and perseverance helps SHE-CAN Scholar land summer job at agricultural mechanization startup company  – by Eunice Umubyeyi

Last year we had an amazing time when Barbara Bylenga and Madison Shepard of SHE-CAN visited Rwanda to recruit the class of 2022. During a dinner, they talked to us about life in the U.S. and some of the challenges scholars who came before us faced. That’s when the topic about saving our money, especially before coming to the U.S., came up and their words stuck in my mind. A few days after the dinner, I started looking for a job. It’s not easy to get a job but I had to save some money especially knowing that my family would never be able to give me money.

I went to a library, four coffee shops and seven bars but there were no vacant jobs. At the fifth coffee shop I visited I knew I wasn’t going to have any luck but walked in anyway. The barista told me to come back next week when the boss would be around. While heading out of the coffee shop, a lady who was reading a newspaper and drinking her coffee called me over. I approached her with a very sad face, she smiled at me and said, “That is so brave of you to go around looking for a job, especially a young girl like you. Most people your age are partying.” She gave me her business card as she was leaving the table, and said “Call me on Monday.” On a Tuesday, I went for an interview and she challenged me to attend a meeting and write down the meeting minutes including a summary of what was spoken such as decisions. A few days after submitting the minutes she called me to start the job.

I started working as the administration officer at Agrimec Ltd on March 1. Agrimec is a startup company that does agricultural mechanization. The company bought tractors and people rent the tractors to make their fields. As the administration officer my job is to talk to clients, talk to employees on the field (the drivers of the tractors), know all the office work, conduct research about agriculture and work hand in hand with all the company shareholders.   

My job has given me so many opportunities to meet people with high authority and attend international meetings especially this year. In March, I attended a meeting called SheTrades Africa. SheTrades is an international organization that wants to connect women in business, and this year’s meeting was held in Kigali. I attended the meeting representing the company, but learned a lot as an individual. As a woman, I heard testimonies about the challenges other successful women in business faced and how they overcame them. The SheTrades meeting boosted my confidence. In May, I attended the last day of the Transform Africa Summit 2017. During the summit, there were many competitions featuring young people who pitched their ideas. In my opinion, the most interesting one was Ms. Geek Africa. Ms. Geek is a competition that started in Rwanda to inspire young females in ICT (Information Communication Technology) to think critically and implement their skills to change the country and the continent. It was inspiring to see young females with the ambition of contributing to the development of their communities, countries and the continent.

Working for Agrimec has not only given me opportunities to attend summits, but it also prepared me for my next voyage as a student and a Rwandese. During my time at Agrimec, I’ve attended every meeting and I’ve had to listen carefully while writing the summary and sending the minutes. Unlike other schools in the states, in Rwanda the way things are taught here is through memorizing the lessons. Teachers give us notes to write and sometimes we have to cram memorizing those notes to do well in exams. The teachers don’t really teach lessons in a way that allows students to read or make additional research on their own. Being able to work at Agrimec my listening skills have developed. Additionally, I’m sure taking notes while someone is talking will be helpful for me in college. At work I’m in charge of research and creating three newsletters that include a couple of interesting things that I read about on agriculture and some organizations that would be beneficial to the company per day. Through the research, and most of the things I did while working with different people, I learned more about my country and agriculture – especially that the Rwandan economy is based on agricultural production. These research and reading skills will be helpful in college life.

I will conclude by saying I’m glad I didn’t give up on looking for an occupation before college. In just three months, I’ve been able to save up to $256 and gained skills that will help me throughout life and on campus. Thanks to Barbara and Madison, who shared with us what life in the U.S. is beyond our magical expectations, I would’ve never tried harder to find an occupation to help save for my new journey in America.