A mother’s persistence creates a legacy for the Chitungo sisters at TWU.
Living in Canada seemed like an impossible dream for Zimbabwean sisters Rufaro, Rutendo, and Ruvimbo Chitungo. But their mother believed it would happen one day, and faithfully tried to make that dream a reality.
In 2003, the Chitungo family relocated to Belize, where all three sisters studied nursing. Rufaro and Rutendo each graduated with their B.Sc. in Nursing in 2007, and Ruvimbo graduated with a certificate in Practical Nursing in 2009.
Things took an unexpected turn for the family in 2009 when their mother Margaret was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. “Our mom’s conquering spirit kept us going each and every day,” says Ruvimbo. Margaret fought back with surgery and chemotherapy. She never gave up on her dream for her daughters, either, and spent many hours praying for them and researching universities in Canada.
Near the end of 2010, Margaret discovered TWU and submitted an application to the kinesiology program for Ruvimbo, without her knowledge. “Much to my surprise, I received my TWU acceptance letter,” says Ruvimbo. There was even a scholarship. “My mom also worked hard to convince Rufaro to apply for the MSN program, and she too was accepted.”
By fall 2012, two Chitungo sisters were attending TWU. But their first semester did not go as planned. Three weeks into school, their mother passed away. “This was the toughest experience we have ever gone through, for sure,” Ruvimbo says of that time. The support they received from the Trinity Western community was exactly what they needed, and the sisters knew that going there was the best decision their mother had ever made for them.
“Despite the hurdles we have come across, we have managed to see the positive side of it all,” Ruvimbo says. “Financially, it has been draining, but we remain positive and God continues to open windows for us.”
A year later, Rutendo also came to Trinity Western. The three sisters were overjoyed to be reunited and to attend the school their mother had chosen for them. “I am very proud of my sisters because of the example that they have set for me,” says Ruvimbo.
The sisters worked together on a variety of projects, including a small event planning business, a hair and freelance makeup business, and a house cleaning business. “What can I say? God gave us the right parents who raised and trained us to be jacks of all trades.”
In 2015, Rufaro became the first Chitungo sister to complete TWU’s MSN program. She then started working with the Langley Association for Community Living. She now works at the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health.
Rutendo graduated from the same program in the fall of 2016. She was invited back to Belize by a representative of the Nursing Council of Belize to conduct seminars for the ongoing education and knowledge program. She currently works as a home care assistant and caregiver.
Ruvimbo is still enrolled at TWU, and is entering her fifth and final year in the kinesiology program. She has worked in the Admissions office, and was the lead TWU representative on a Canada-wide tour for Christian musician Chris Tomlin in 2016.
“We can clearly see that Trinity Western was the best university for us, and whether it was our mother’s wish or God’s plan, we embrace every moment of it,” says Ruvimbo, who goes by Ruvy on campus. “We have gained a great family at TWU with professors, classmates, and workmates. This is priceless and cannot be traded for anything.”