(Trinidad Newsday) As a child, Makeisha Simon always dreamt of becoming a doctor. In November, she came one step closer to her dream when the University of the West Indies accepted her to study for a bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery (MBBS) degree.
Elated and determined but with no money, Simon began selling nuts and channa on the streets in Princes Town and San Fernando to raise money to pursue her studies. She lives with her mother, a sickly single parent, and two younger siblings at Borde Narve Village in Princes Town.
The well-spoken Simon is asking the public to help her pay school and rent fees. Time is running out and despite her sacrifice, she does not have enough money to start classes in September.
Her compulsory fees are about $1,500, for the first semester and include guild and student amenities fees. Holding a basket with packs of nuts, Simon said: “Becoming a doctor was always my plan. To complete the MBBS for one to five years, it costs an estimated $71,000. I have been accepted to rent an apartment at the Joyce Gibson Hall at Mt Hope, I must pay the rent and my compulsory fees. I need about $10,000 before August 25.”On Wednesday, she turned 21 and celebrated her birthday selling on the streets with her mother, Nekisha Simon, who often helped her.
“Patients at the San Fernando General Hospital sang the happy birthday song to me. They are customers. People at the registrar office also sang. Security officers do not like us to sell in the hospital and they often run us from the compound.”
Simon said she missed out on a government scholarship by one “A” profile. This is a breakdown in the results for each subject she passed. The former St Stephen’s College student obtained eight passes – seven one’s and a two – at the A level. She received a total of 20 A’s in the profile section.
A month before receiving confirmation from UWI, she enrolled in the N1 programme at the university which ended this month. Daily, before and after class she sold items on the streets.
Simon said one night while returning home from classes on a bus, she was stressed and silently began to question God about her decision to pursue medicine. To her surprise, he answered her.
“All of a sudden the bus just shut down, directly in front of Mt Hope. I will not question him again. The bus showed no signs of problems or anything. The driver restarted the bus and it began moving again. It was a split-second, but it was a sign.”
Earlier this year, she said God gave her another sign that she should study medicine. One day while walking on Harris Promenade, San Fernando, near the hospital, a stranger stopped her to say a prayer for her.
“I almost walked away. She started praying and asking the Lord to help ‘this child; through her endeavours.’ She prayed for God to help me to school and help with any problems that I am facing. She said she saw me travelling the world, going and help people.
“That is exactly what I want to do — travel the world and help people, of course when I get my doctorate.
“She said she saw me in India and Pakistan. I would love to travel to Asia or Africa and help people in need.” People willing to help can donate money to her account at SFCCU Credit Union Co-operative Society Ltd. Her account number is 03006045 and her passbook number is S01852.
People can also contact Newsday’s San Fernando office at 607-4929.