A pre-nursing student from the African nation of Togo, Mandetebe told the crowd at Professional Development Week that when he was younger, “I was a little bit scared of being a loser.” ​

But winning a scholarship changed that.

A pre-nursing student from the African nation of Togo, Mandetebe told the PDW crowd that when he was younger, “I was a little bit scared of being a loser.”

But winning a scholarship changed that.

“It makes me feel I have a whole community behind me, pushing for me.”

Since I can remember, my mom has always been a hard-working person. She was a single mother raising a son in an area where jobs were not easy to come by. To provide for us and pay for my schooling, she worked as a farmer. What she grew, she sold to the locals to put me through school. It was not much but we lived a happy and humble life.

Looking back, I am amazed at the sacrifices my mother made to ensure that I would receive a proper education. About 8 years ago, my mom began a new career as a cook in the capital of Togo. I was fortunate enough to come to the United States in 2014 by winning the lottery visa.

It has been difficult for the both of us to be apart, but I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences that this country has given me. I have begun a new life in the U.S. and am currently serving my country in the United States Army Reserves as heavy truck driver. Since I live alone, I work a part time job so I can pay for my rent, my tuition and food. However, my focus is education.

I cannot tell my life story without talking about my wonderful teachers and students. Between classes, I enjoy tutoring students in chemistry, math and physics. My main goal is to become a physician one day, work in the United Nations as a physician, so I can help innocent kids and parents dying in pain.

I will also file a petition for my mother to come and join me in the U.S. I want her to see that all her hard work and sacrifices meant something to me -- that I have taken advantage of the opportunities given to me not only by my new home but by her, as well.

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