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Tererai Trent and Deamer Dunn
Our lives may have taken us away from our villages, but we still know that buried beside the huts of our birth, safely in our beloved red African earth, are our umbilical cords. In this knowledge we feel a connection to our land and our ancestors.
As long as this connection is a part of my consciousness, the world's complexity no longer feels overwhelming. In the times when this knowledge feels distant from me, however, I feel confused and unsure of how to get on with life. This collection of stories centers on the connection of the Shona with our history and our land, and how we transition through the changes of modern times. Since my people have lived in a similar manner for so many centuries, change is often viewed as dramatic. Yet, Deamer and I believe the physical, mental, and spiritual effects of change are not so dissimilar for people throughout the world. We hope you not only enjoy these stories for their own sake, but also find some mirrors that reflect meaning to your own life.
At a Christmas dinner with friends, Tererai and I discussed the exciting possibilities of combining the oral African traditions of her Shona family and history with my multicultural/Western orientation and my passion for the written word.
Recent times in Africa have seen a lot of change. Many of these transitions are similar to what is happening in other parts of the world; others are uniquely African. Modernization, the blending of cultures, emigration to both cities and other countries are some of the many changes affecting people's lives. For Tererai and me, there is something very special about the transitions happening under the presence of the ancestral spirits of these ancient civilizations. We decided not to settle for the simple provocative drama present in so many short stories. We wanted to deal with difficult, even tragic situations, but also aspire to have our stories bring humor and a touch of romance. Most of all, we wish to present the inspiration of the human spirit and its powerful ability to adjust, adapt and overcome.
About Tererai Trent
Scholar, Humanitarian, Speaker
One of todays most internationally recognized voices for quality education and womens empowerment, Dr. Tererai Trent is a symbol of hope for children around the world. Growing up in a cattle-herding family in rural Zimbabwe, Tererai always dreamed of getting an education, but limited by traditional Zimbabwean culture, she was married with three children by the time she was eighteen. Undeterred by traditional roles and cultural norms, Tererai determinedly taught herself to read and write from her brothers schoolbooks.
From those humble beginnings, Tererai has become a world-renowned scholar, humanitarian, motivational speaker, educator, mentor, and inspiration, leading the global charge in the fight for quality education for all children.
So what makes Dr. Trent Oprah Winfreys all time favorite guest? While still a young mother without a high school diploma, Tererai decided to take control of her destiny. She wrote down her dreams of going to America for higher education, sealed them in a tin can and buried them under a rock, thereby redesigning the blueprint for her life. Tererais steadfast determination, hard work and belief in her dreams would eventually earn her multiple degrees. Today, Dr. Trent is a senior consultant with more than 18 years of international experience in program and policy evaluation, and has worked on five continents for major humanitarian organizations. With a desire to give back to her community and the firm belief that education is the pathway out of poverty, Dr. Trent founded Tinogona Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to build, repair and renovate schools in rural Zimbabwe. Through strategic partnerships with Oprah Winfrey and Save the Children, Tererai Trent International building schools and improving the lives for school children in Zimbabwe.
Using her prominent global platform in conjunction with world leaders and international audiences, Tererai tirelessly speaks on behalf of children without an access to education. On top of building schools and improving the livelihood of communities in Zimbabwe, Trent appeals to international businesses to invest in equal access to education. She empowers women to be leaders in their communities, imparting the lessons she learned along her incredible journey. A warm and engaging speaker, Dr. Tererai Trent lights up audiences with her enduring spirit and strength, and leaves everyone motivated to fight not only for their own dreams, but also for the dreams of others.
Currently an adjunct professor in M&E in Global Health at Drexel University, School of Public Health, Dr. Tererai Trent is a senior consultant with more than 18 years of international experience in program and policy evaluation, and has worked on five continents for major humanitarian organizations. Dr. Trent earned a BS in Agricultural Education and Masters in Plant Pathology from Oklahoma State University, Masters in Public Health (Epidemiology) from UC Berkeley, and Doctorate in Interdisciplinary Evaluation from Western Michigan University. A fellow at the Center of AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) at USF, Dr. Trent conducted research on HIV prevention in Sub Saharan Africa with a special focus on women and girls. Dr. Trent has also been granted multiple honorary doctorate degrees and awards in recognition of her outstanding accomplishments.