Meet Thierry Ishimwe Patrick Rwandese studying in Kenya

Barely 3 semesters after his entry to MKU- Kigali campus to study Pharmacy, he was forced to relocate to Kenya since the course he was undertaking was shifted to MKU main campus- Thika. A one hour drive from Nairobi, Kenya.

When the name "Thierry" is mentioned, most will scroll their mental granaries to a name familiar with football fans- Thierry Henry. Former Arsenal Star and French international.

Standing at 6ft tall and slender, Thierry Ishimwe Patrick is a 4th year student pursuing a Bachelor in Pharmacy, loves basketball, football and loves cleaning.

His Mentors include his father who has been his pillar and President Kagame whose Leadership skills in steering Rwanda to new heights warms his heart.

"My Kenyan friends have been amazing, they have taught me Swahili. In the basketball team I have good teammates who have helped me learn Swahili more and become better in the game" he adds.

Being a sportsman, Thierry starts his day with a quick look at his WhatsApp app to check at his family back at home then warms up.

"Since my family is back in Rwanda, I check up my WhatsApp to exchange pleasantries and catch up with friends since my days are always busy. My morning is incomplete without exercise. It starts with warming up, stretches, push-ups then jogging. It injects positive energy into my day."

Thierry finds time to play basketball for the University team- MKU Nets where he plays Central position. "I play central mostly and my job is picking rebounds both offensively and defensively... I do better on defense".

His love for basketball has seen him abandon football for basketball and also helped him have a good grasp of Swahili.
"I like football and basketball. Although I have a passion for basketball. I have been playing basketball since high school and I really like it."

"The University has been supportive too by issuing balls and kits and giving us a good coach. With the newly built Basketball court, I am grateful. We can play and enjoy the game."

In his four year stay in Kenya, apart from a busy academic life, his recent attachment at Thika level 5 Hospital- Kiambu County, put forth a Challenge that gave him an opportunity to learn a new language. A few words.

Pharmacy being a very demanding course, he shares how he survives in this jungle.

"Firstly, I love my course. Secondly, I have passion for the game- basketball. Therefore there's none I favor. Although sometimes I skip games to allow me sit for exams". His dedication to practice daily with the team after finishing his lectures tells of a young man ready to pull every chord to achieve his goals.

Language barrier
Tucked in the bowels of Thika town, Thika level 5 Hospital offers it's services to clients from all walks of life and places. Even referrals.

Being a native of Rwanda, who formerly used French as their national language, Thierry's Swahili is a work in progress. It's (Thika level 5 Hospital) geographical location means that locals who are majorly Kikuyu speaking, visit the hospital and this is where Thierry meets them at the Pharmacy. It's during these interactions that Thierry's Swahili is put to test and his ears fed to a new taste of language- Kikuyu, Kikamba, or both.

" The first challenge is language barrier. Some patients come speaking in their local dialect and some in Swahili. During the my first weeks it was challenging but with time I learned by seeking help from colleagues and learning basic words. My Swahili is not that good but I can hear most of the words. It has been an exciting experience". I have learnt a few Kikuyu words like " Ndeithie" " Rucio" my attachment has been wonderful. " I now go back for final two semesters to complete my Pharmacy degree."

And how has he coped up with this challenge?

"I've really improved my Swahili due to spending lots of time with basketballers and other friends. My speaking is also improving, thanks to them"

Thierry's life is that of working to improve himself through interactions and self drive. His engagement in sports despite having a busy academic life has not only helped him become better but made his life in the University fun.

He concludes by expressing his love for Kenyan food,

"I like matoke and beef and spinach too" .

Karibu Kenya! Karibu Mount Kenya University!