You might have heard it said, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, as Friedrich Nietzsche put it.
Dr. Mejury Chipato’s story, a Zimbabwean Medical Doctor, Microbiologist, Entrepreneur, blooming Businesswoman, and Philanthropist, is the essence of resilience.
She is also a Pastor, a Mentor, a Life & Business coach, a Multi-Award Winner (including the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards), and the proprietor of ProMJ Incorporated Company.
Dr. Chipato was honored by The International Internship University (India) as one of The Most Inspiring Women of The Earth Awardees and holds The World Record of the Earth 2022.
She is also an author, having penned the book I’m In Charge of My Narrative.
However, Dr. Chipato’s journey up the ladder has not been a straight line.
I recently interviewed her to capture the essence of her steps throughout her journey with exactitude and see life through her own eyes.
Dr. Chipato was born in the rural areas of Gutu, Masvingo Province, but she grew up in a ghetto called Mbare in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital.
After High School, she had it all puzzled out, of how she would take exactly seven years after her Advanced Level to become a Medical Doctor.
“My journey to becoming a medical doctor hasn’t been an easy one.
After high school, I got a fully funded governmental scholarship to study in Algeria, where I was hoping to study Medicine.
When I was about to leave the country, I got false HIV Positive results after doing the blood tests, which were part of the requirements for going to Algeria,” she narrates.
The incidence almost toppled her from the dreams of studying Medicine under the government scholarship; she almost lost the scholarship.
When she got to Algeria, a French-speaking nation, the situation there required her to spend a whole year studying French because the studies are done in French.
“Afterwards, I enrolled in Microbiology after I was denied a place in Medicine before my application, which took me a period of 4 years.
I even repeated the first year of Microbiology due to a very belated enrolment before starting Medical School,” Dr. Chipato continues.
This was after her second attempt to join the Medical School got rejected.
Dr. Chipato was wise enough to immediately enroll in a Microbiology course to avoid losing the scholarship.
She had to salvage the golden opportunity, making lemonade out of the many lemons.
“I opted for Microbiology, which is a program closer to the Medicine Degree I wanted.
Simultaneously, I was also looking for other alternatives to find my way into the Medical School,” she reminisces.
She, however, could not allow these challenges to snuff out her candle’s light; she kept on pressing on nevertheless.
“Afterwards, I was offered Veterinary Sciences instead of the Medicine Degree I had applied for on my third attempt to join the School of Medicine.”
After her fourth application, she thought she would be absorbed into the Medical School, but it turned out to be a disappointment- the fourth rejection- this time round, due to her advanced age of 25.
The uncertain events impeded her journey, but they could not stop her inner drive.
She kept on forging ahead courageously.
“I eventually got accepted into Gannan Medical School in China on my fifth application attempt.
This time, I had used my Microbiology Degree to make the application,” she says.
In China, studying Medicine takes six years, which she started at 25, and at 31, she was home and dry.
At 31 years of age, which is early this year, she became a fully-trained medical doctor.
Dr. Chipato, the iron lady who wears many hats, admits that sometimes she felt like throwing up her hands in hopelessness, just like anyone else.
“…, but I thank God for His faithfulness, even in my most challenging times. He has been my source of inspiration and strength. I learned to pray, persist, be patient, trust God, and not give up.
I knew that if I had not pursued my passion, I would not have been happy for the rest of my life, regretting and wishing ‘what if’, and I couldn’t let my future escape like that,” she affirms.
She says that not even the sweetness of studying Microbiology could blindfold her for a single day to stop chasing after her dream course, Medicine.
She pursued it through thick and thin, leaving no stone unturned.
Despite the sting of the myriad challenges she faced, she says: “There was always something in me crying out for the realization of my goal and the desire to help others, which transcended the challenges I faced at any particular point.”
“And what kept spurring her on?” you may wonder.
“My background is my source of motivation to succeed.
God, my parents (my family), and my big goals and dreams are the driving force; they keep me going.
When I think of the many sacrifices my family made for me to be where l am today, I get the strength to keep soldiering on, any challenges or circumstances notwithstanding,” she encourages.
Her spiritual inclination and the support of her youth pastor also propped her up.
Turning pragmatic, she wrote down her vision and goals.
“Every morning, I would envision myself as a Medical Doctor and speak positive affirmations over my life.
One of the things that also kept me focused was the friends that I kept.
I began associating myself with focused people who would speak positivity into my life and encourage me to remain on the move.
I also had medical doctors, who served as a reminder of who I wanted to become,” she recalls.
Having reliable mentors and sticking to prayer, patience and persistence kept her fire burning.
Planning to give up?
As a Pastor, a Life Coach, and a Motivational Speaker, Dr. Chipato bears the advantage of knowledge about most of the things holding back young people, especially in Africa.
To you, who feels like giving up, she says that “I may not understand exactly how you feel, but from the bottom of my heart, I want to encourage you not to give up.
The pain you are facing is real.
The pressure is real. The misfortune is real.
However, more real is your victory, and this is the victory that overcomes our faith.”
She posits that even though our origins are far beyond what our ability to choose can get us, our destiny is entirely upon our shoulders.
It is you and me who are responsible for who and what we want to become.
“If someone like me, who came from a humble background, got arrested, got false, positive HIV results, got rejected severally, and instead of seven, took 11 years to become a medical doctor at the age of 31 years yet I never gave up, you too can do it,” Dr. Chipato exhorts.
I became curious about how she keeps the weighing scales of her many careers at equilibrium and I enquired about the mystery.
“I apportion a specific amount of time to each responsibility and ensure that I handle what is presently demanding my focus with as much excellence as I can muster at any given moment.
When it’s time to be a Doctor for instance, my patient gets my undivided attention.
When it’s time to handle business and the foundation’s affairs, I try to delegate the tasks that do not require my input to my teammates or automate them as best as I can.
This strategy enables me reserve myself for my best use and do what I can at the highest possible level of excellence,” she explained.
A helping hand
Being well-versed with the uncountable challenges she faced since childhood, her heart has been constantly moved to help change the narrative of the many needy children in Zimbabwe.
In 2019, she founded the Patience of Hope Foundation, a non-profit charity organization.
“I wanted to help pay school fees for as many orphans and underprivileged children as I could, thus giving them an opportunity to education, which is the key to success and a brighter future,” she clarifies.
The Organization’s mission is: “To advocate, promote and ensure that every child has an equal access and opportunity to quality universal education,” she says.
It moves by the motto ‘Better build children than repair old men.’
She says that it’s her responsibility to leave a legacy by changing the lives of the future generations, a move to be continued by the young children when they attain their vantage point.
The Charity Organization will soon be expanding to more African countries.
As this happens, we will keep you in the know.
YOU CAN ALSO READ: BOOK REVIEW: I’m in Charge of My Narrative
To get her book, her motivations, her elegant Fashion Collections, and also to offer a helping hand to the Patience of Hope Foundation, kindly follow her on her socials: @ Dr Mejury Chipato on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and @drmejurychipato.official on Instagram. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.