Two weeks before I went for my Visa appointment last August in Ghana, I was in a fit of anxiety. Partly because that situation always comes with some anxiety and because I had resigned from my job (schoolwork had already started) and was thinking how life could be in the unlikely case of rejection at the embassy. My soul got placated by the visit of two brothers, Basit and Bashiru who had gotten their visas that week and wanted some books to read as they prepare to fly to the United States of America to pursue a master’s degree at the Ohio University. I already knew Basit because in 2019, we both had to prepare to write the GRE examination as a requirement for school application. I gave it a cavalier attitude, he passed his, got an admission but could not travel out because of the unfortunate. The Covid-19 pandemic set in, and the embassy had to close. “The unexpected” they say, “beats even the man of valor.”
But I am not talking about him. I want to talk about the other person. His name is Abubakar Bashiru. I want to talk about the success he chalked here in an American school. But before that, I want to discuss his struggles back home in Ghana, his journey to Ohio, the never-give up attitude he put up, the sheer tenacity and bold determination for a higher life. I want to do that because Nkrumah says that we should judge people by the depths they came from and not only by the heights they reached.
Abubakar Bashiru is a student at Ohio university. Before joining Ohio University for his master's in international studies, he studied at the University of Cape Coast, where he graduated with a second-class upper in 2018. According to him, his desire to pursue higher education abroad did not come on a silver platter. It came on the back multiple rejections, unexpected situations and a spirit filled with hope, faith, mixed with an indescribable level of perseverance. He started the process of school application in 2018 to some schools and they did not give him admission. He tried again in 2019 and Ohio University accepted him for an MA in International Studies.
Getting admission in a USA university is one leg of the process. The next process which is the harder for a lot of people is securing the visa. No sooner had Bashiru start the visa application process than the world came to a standstill due the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. He had no other option than to defer the program to spring 2021. His visa appointment on November 25, 2020, was not successful. He got denied. He did not relent but re-applied and got another date, January 6,2021. He went to the embassy that day with all optimism he could gather. Interestingly, his optimism fizzled through the thin air. He got denied again. This is what he said “at this point, I thought all hope was lost, and my dream of schooling in the USA was over. However, I remembered this verse from the Holy Quran: "after every difficulty, there is ease" (Quran 94:5).
Bashiru had to defer his programme again (American schools grant that opportunity) to Fall 2021. He re-applied for a visa appointment at a time when it was overwhelmingly difficult to schedule an appointment because the embassy was closed for regular processes and only granted those with emergency situations an appointment opportunity. But that also came with a slow and difficult chance of securing a date as there was a whole backlog of students who had to defer their courses the previous year plus those who got admission that year. He got August 8th, 2022, as an appointment date and after ten minutes plus interview, he was told to wait for some days as his visa went through what they call “administrative process.” Two weeks later, he received an email from the American Embassy (Ghana) that his visa had been approved.
The reason I had to tell us all these is to appreciate Bashiru as he chalked a remarkable feat in his first year of study at Ohio University. Before the summer holidays begun, he received an academic achievement certificate award at the Center for International Studies Graduate ceremony at Ohio University. This award was presented to students who could obtain a cumulative CGPA of 3.8 or higher. We salute and congratulate Abubakar Bashiru elephantly for this wonderful feat. We urge him to keep the spirit burning aloft and continue making a case on why he had to strive towards higher education.
More grease to your elbows, Bashiru.
NB: The Writer is a Community Organizer, Literacy Advocate, and a Youth-Activist.