Photo submitted by Precious Chigwada
Senior Precious Chigwada, a two sport varsity athlete, seems as though she lives life just like every other student walking the halls at Elkhart Memorial: going to class, going to practice, and spending time with her friends and family, but that is only what we see from the outside.
Precious came to the United States on Oct. 26 of 2005 from Harare, Zimbabwe. After some health issues for Precious’ mother, the Chigwada family decided that it was necessary for them to move to the United States for better treatment.
Along with her parents and brothers, Wisdom and Victor, Precious began her journey to a new life in South Bend, Indiana where the Chigwada family lived for five years; then they moved to Dallas, Texas where they spent another five years. Finally, they settled in their current home in Elkhart, IN.
“Moving here has taught me to never take anything for granted,” Precious said. “I’ve become a stronger person because of all the struggles I’ve faced and because I moved away from my home. It’s helped me be more expressive in my culture.”
And her friends agree. Precious has a confidence about her that comes from the obstacles her family has worked to overcome.
“She doesn’t care what other people think,” senior Jahlea Douglas, a friend of Precious said. “She has her own style and her own demeanor.”
“She is so fun and spontaneous, but at the same time, she is never disrespectful,” senior Rayna Minix said. “Her family and background have really made her appreciate everything so much more.”
Since moving to the United States, Precious has found a number of opportunities that were not offered in Zimbabwe.
“I have the opportunity of free public schools, earning money, and doing anything I want and love freely,” Precious said. “The cities in Zimbabwe are like normal urban cities, but packed with many people and vendors. It’s generally a peaceful place, but there’s a lot of poverty and struggle.”
Even if there are some similarities between here and there, it was no easy transition for her family. But, there is no question that her family stuck together and supported each other in this big change.
“My brothers are like my best friends and we have the best bond. My parents are the most hardworking people I know and they’ve taught me everything I need to know,” Precious said. “They always make sure I remember my roots and I couldn’t be where I am today without them.”