Overcoming Obstacles

Life's Hard Lessons!


Yvan Tamba

3 years ago | 3 min read

Like others, I have faced many challenges, including growing up in poverty in Cameroon and dealing with the murder of my father. In May 2017, my mom came to the US to visit. I had not seen her for two years. Shortly after her arrival, she was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. While this diagnosis shocked my siblings and me, treatment required only a simple surgery to remove the tumor and nearly guaranteed survival. However, on the day of the surgery, the doctor changed the diagnosis to Stage 3. She required a mastectomy and a year of chemo, with an uncertain long-term prognosis.

Unexpectedly, I had to support my mother and my brother and sisters emotionally. I turned to my faith for strength. I found it within me to comfort my distraught brother during a video call with my mom. Over the objections of my sister, I convinced my mother to rely on God rather than chemo. The therapy offered her very few chances to survive. I knew with unhesitating faith that, just like Jesus healed the hemorrhaging woman, he would do the same for my mother. I prayed unceasingly. Through the grace of God, and with no chemo, my mom was declared cancer-free in May 2018.

I lost my sponsor a few months after I arrived in the United States in September 2015. Without a sponsor, I couldn't afford the out-of-state tuition cost my college required and had to stop with my education. I met a couple at my parish who decided to help me raise some money to go back to school. We could only raise 1/3 of the tuition, and I had to work to cover the other 2/3. I remembered that I made the payment 5 minutes before the due date because I had to call people to borrow money one semester. I went to school each semester without any guarantee that I would be back the next semester. So, I enjoyed every single one like it was the last one. I could only take the number of credits that my money could cover. I was out of school some semesters because I needed to cover more hours at work to pay for the next semester.

Losing my mom in September 2019 was probably the darkest moment in my life. I was at the school library when I received that message from my aunt saying that my mom was gone. It was my first semester as a transfer student at Georgia Tech. I still remember how happy she was when I told her that I was accepted at Georgia Tech a few months earlier. My mom did not get a chance to go to school because low-class families prioritized boys' education.

With my mom gone and half of my tuition paid through a payment plan without knowing where to get money to cover the other half, I was down. I thought about dropping out of college, but I found some strengths inside of me to keep pushing. I did not miss any days of school. I knew that the path to greatness was hard. I had to stay strong for my brother and sisters.

I started my last year of college two months ago. Looking back at all those hard times, I am proud of myself and my accomplishments. Those experiences have made me stronger and help me realize that I can climb any mountains if I believe in myself and stay focus.

"The tiny seed knew that in order to grow, it needed to be dropped in dirt, covered in darkness, and struggle to reach the light."

Yvan, The Architect.


Created by

Yvan Tamba

Yvan is a senior at Georgia Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Engineering and an AWS Certified Solution Architect - Professional. He is passionate about cloud and data center technologies. He is highly energetic, motivated and has dedicated the last year of his life, 20 hours a week learning about cloud computing.







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