CCCC 50th anniversary

Cloud County Community College

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Alumni and Friends

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The Bitendelos, alumni spotlightALUMNI SPOTLIGHT

My name is Ngombe Bitendelo, and I’m a Native of Tanzania, which is in the Eastern part of Africa. Tanzania is by all accounts a 3rd World Country. I was born into poor means. My parents were fisherman and farmers. My sisters were not allowed to continue education past elementary school. The expectation for women in the rural conservative parts of Tanzania, were prepared to become homemakers – therefore my sister, as most women, were deprived of further education. Neither of my parents went to college.
My early work as a lab technician at the Tanzania Baptist Mission Hospital exposed me to a range of human health problems that continue to plague Africa, and this experience remains formative. I was challenged by the breadth of suffering inflicted by disease, and some of the major public health obstacles were tied to a marked lack of resources and the need for more trained professionals in epidemiology. The experience ultimately moved me to become a nurse since I knew that I wanted to continue working for the betterment of public health.
I was privileged to start my nursing journey at North Central Kansas Technical College in Beloit and Cloud County Community College in Concordia, KS. These two schools are exceptional in many ways. The instructors spent a lot of time with students. My instructors were actually my mentors. They have one goal, which is seeing nursing students succeed professionally. The people in Beloit, Concordia and neighboring towns are very welcoming. While in Beloit, my family and I made friends within a short time, and we truly felt at home. We had many challenges, including inability to pay for nursing education, and the political unrest in my wife’s country. The community quickly jumped in and supported us - the community helped to bring my wife’s children to the USA from Africa, and they paid for my nursing education. I joined a men’s bible study class that met at the NCKTC campus, and this session was really a support group. My family and I are so grateful for NCKTC and CCCC and the community. It is through this supportive environment that I was able to achieve my educational goals. Nursing education I obtained from CCCC has given me the opportunity to work within a range of patient care fields, and it has also provided me with management and educational experience that I believe will be essential for taking on a health leadership role when I return to Africa.
One of the things I am most proud of is founding a ministry of health education in rural United Republic of Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo. The ministry was funded through two local non-profits: fédération des femmes pour la paix et le développement (FEPADE) in the Democratic Republic of Congo and The Women Action for Development and Solidarity (WADS) in the United Republic of Tanzania. I have been able to travel regularly to the border of Tanzania and Congo to conduct this ministry. There are health care barriers outside of our milieu that need to be broken.
The same experiences that drove me to become an excellent nurse moved me to my MPH program. I am finishing my Master’s in Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Washington University in Saint Louis. My family and I express gratitude to the Washington University and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation for extending scholarship and enabling me to achieve this graduate education. My graduate work has enlarged my knowledge, my sense of rigor, and my desire to conduct potentially life-altering research. I am particularly moved to work on improving the conditions for those afflicted by poverty and social injustices, and I am committed to working with communities and NGOs to develop multi-level strategies for solving health issues that especially afflict Africa. My practice when I return to Africa will be aimed at disease prevention, intervention, and becoming a visible public health educator.
I am blessed to have a very supportive wife, Martha, as she has truly been my right hand. She works hard and has been the one providing most of the nurturing to our beautiful children.  We wish you a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.

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Cloud County Community College

2221 Campus Drive   •   Concordia, KS 66901   •   800-729-5101


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