Persevering Through Adversity

Persevering Through Adversity
Persevering Through Adversity

Africa-Press – Mauritius. We are all born equal, but some are more equal than others,” a quote from ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell, explains the disparities that exist in society. Adversities encompass disabilities – physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and financial. Perseverance is the relentless determination to keep moving forward despite setbacks, failures, and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Hardship, adversity, and even failure can lead to greater success. Our mindset needs to be formatted to work outside our comfort zone to achieve a desirable outcome.

Dr Randir Buguth, far right, seen here with his Dental Clinic manager and his patient who won the best Google review

Many educated elderly Mauritian citizens have had to persevere through adversity to achieve a better quality of life for themselves and their families. I am sure that in every family and every community, there are numerous examples of people who have excelled, starting from humble beginnings.

Our late Father of the Nation, SSR, came from a family of labourers and lost an eye at a very early age. He used to walk barefoot to his primary school through the sugarcane fields to pursue his education. He later became the first prime minister of Mauritius and is the architect of our welfare state, providing free health, education, social benefits, and free transport for students and the elderly.

I also have in mind Sir Ramparsad Neerunjun, who too came from a modest family and became a laureate at the RCC, going on to study Law in London. He was the uncle (mamou) of my mother and did not have a new shirt to go to college after the proclamation of the laureate results. His grandmother, a dressmaker, was sewing a shirt for him at night, and unfortunately, the machine needle broke. The poor grandmother had to finish the shirt by hand all night to be ready the following day. He went on to become the first Mauritian Chief Justice, also being knighted in July 1962 for Queen’s Birthday Honours – a remarkable achievement!

We have also heard about laureates in villages who studied by the light of candles and kerosene lamps at night due to a lack of electricity. I personally come from a poor family and had to endure a lot of personal hardship. When I went to college in 1970, I did not have an English dictionary, and I asked a family neighbour for one, as they had several. “Si pas ena dictionnaire pena pou alle l’ecole…” was the answer!

Doing my HSC in 1978, I was desperate to study abroad, and the only way was to win a scholarship. Two weeks before my final exams, I asked my private tuition math teacher, who was a neighbour as well, how to solve a problem in a module called complex numbers. He said that his time was over, and I had to wait until the next week. I was in mental agony to solve this equation, and finally, the following week, I understood the concept within 10 minutes of explanation. This particular question came up in the exam and helped me win a French scholarship to study dentistry in France. The last two people involved are still alive, and they came to my dental surgery in Curepipe in the 1990s for dental treatment – a privilege for me to have treated them. God works in mysterious ways!

On my arrival in the UK in 2006, I went to inquire about the routes to follow to practise in the country. At the reception desk, I was greeted by a middle-aged English lady with a stern face who told me, “Why the hell have you come to this horrible country.” After checking my paperwork, she said that I would not be able to work in the UK as my qualification was not from a British university, I am born outside the EU (Mauritian passport), and I am not proficient in English. I went on to prove her wrong, and I am now practising as senior dentist in the UK.

I award a prize every year in the sixth form college to the student (chosen by a panel of teachers) who has persevered through adversity. This year, the award winner will study at Birmingham University. I wish I could do more for needy students.

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