A dream that came true Nadia Mutisi (left), Nathan Zindikulani and Victoria Aduroja (fourth from left) and others as they took time away from their internship

Nathan Zindikilani

ON May 7, 2022, The Herald published an article titled, “The Dream that Must Come True”. The words oozed prophetic declaration and echoed The Herald’s determination to mobilise assistance for us.  In its article, The Herald amplified our plea for support. The publication encouraged well-wishers to assist us in attending a law internship abroad. The Herald’s call did not fall on deaf ears. The article unlocked much support.

One of the significant breakthroughs resulting from the article was an accommodation offer from Levi and Stephanie Mberego, a humble, principled and God-fearing Christian family of Zimbabwean heritage based in Maryland. They opened up their home to us and acted as guardians throughout our stay.

In June 2022, I travelled to the United States and began my eight week long internship with the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, a leading health law and policy think tank based at the Georgetown University Law Centre in Washington DC.

At the O’Neill Institute, I took part in exciting health policy initiatives under the Institute’s Center for Transformational Health Law.

My work focused on the Covid-19 Pandemic and legal measures adopted by nations to protect the public. With guidance from my mentors, Katherine Ginsbach and Kashish Aneja, I explored the Covid-19 legal responses of Antigua and Barbuda, Andorra, Angola, Bahamas, Belize, Barbados, Canada, Iceland, Sweden and Zimbabwe for the “Covid-19 Law Lab” project.

Interning at the O’Neill Institute allowed me to rub shoulders with experts in the field of health law and policy. I received mentorship and guidance from experts such as Jeff Crowley, Former Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy and Senior Advisor on Disability Policy for former President Barack Obama, as well as Sarah Bosha, Director of the Capacity-Building Initiative and a visiting professor of law at Georgetown University.  As a multicultural organisation, staff of the institute represented different parts of the globe. Our intern cohort was similarly diverse. It comprised of law students from South Africa, Nigeria, Germany, New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States. I was honored to represent my country and Great Zimbabwe University in this select group.

Outside of work, the Washington D.C experience was most excellent. Through the generosity of the Mberego family, I was able to fellowship with a strong Christian community. More so, the Mberegos graciously introduced us to their multicultural, multinational and ethnically diverse circle of friends. I interacted with remarkable personalities from India, Nigeria, Kenya and Namibia. I also developed friendships with young people from Columbia, Bolivia and US states such as Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

When time permitted, I explored Washington DC and its diverse tourist offerings. Among the places I toured were the White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, several of the Smithsonian museums, Kennedy Centre, US Supreme Court and US Capitol building.

My colleagues and I extended solidarity to the American people during their Independence Day celebrations on behalf of Zimbabweans.

In conclusion, I gladly report that the dream came true. The wisdom of our elders teaches that, “Kusatenda huoyi” – Ingratitude is witchcraft. I am grateful to The Herald for its instrumental role in mobilising assistance for us; Levi and Stephanie Mberego for taking us in and being world class hosts; Great Zimbabwe University, particularly Vice-Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo and Dean of Law, Victor Nkiwane, who facilitated my application and air travel; Kingdom Life Church Zimbabwe for supporting my expenses and encouraging my resolve; my mother, a strong pillar of support; and lastly, the O’Neill Institute for granting me the opportunity.

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