Home Photo PHOTO GALLERY: Escaping death and starting fresh

PHOTO GALLERY: Escaping death and starting fresh

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“I remember my aunt was getting married at Victoria Falls in Harare,” said Malaika Juru, a sophomore studying business analytics. “I woke up early to get breakfast by myself and my view was the river, trees, plants, sculptures, monkeys swooping from tree to tree and it was just quiet. It was so peaceful. I just sat there and took it in. That’s my favorite memory of Zimbabwe, just sitting in that moment taking everything in.”

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Five years ago, Juru and her family were driving when they got in a terrible car accident in Zimbabwe. Juru sustained severe injuries, including a broken collar bone, shattered arm, dislocated neck, brain contusions and a brain bleed that caused her to be in a coma for a month.

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When she woke up she couldn’t walk, talk or eat on her own. The next few months were spent in physical therapy learning how to use her body again.

“My memory from that is very hazy, but I do remember seeing my dad and sister in the hospital room. I would look at my sister, and I knew her but I couldn’t remember our relationship,” Juru said.

Juru’s sister, Lisa, was a huge part of helping her heal and deal with this trial. She describes her as her “little mom” because of the impact she’s had on her life.

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“My sister — I don’t have words,” Juru said. “She is amazing and beautiful on the inside and out. She has helped me by just being there for me.”

Juru slowly healed and was eventually able to go back home.

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“Going home was different because it was more empty since I lost some family members in the accident,” Juru said. “Being in the hospital it didn’t feel like reality, but going home made it more real and it was hard.”

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This has been an incredibly hard trial for Juru. This experience changed her life and helped shape her into who she is today.

“The whole experience is still shaping me and teaching me so much, but the one thing it solidified for me is I know that my Heavenly Father knows me individually as Malaika,” Juru said. “I would feel his spirit so strong and I knew he allowed my family members that passed to be there with me too and give me strength.”

Juru moved to Idaho from Zimbabwe two years ago. It was her first time to the states and a chance to start fresh in a new country.

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“It was interesting: I was excited, and I was going to start fresh,” said Juru. “This was my clean slate to have a new beginning. It was scary because I was coming all the way from Zimbabwe by myself.”

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Juru experienced a lot of culture shock as she adjusted to her new life in America. One big adjustment for her was getting used to American cuisine.

“I make things to my own taste,” Juru said. “I’ll buy something but I won’t prepare it in the same way it’s supposed to be. When I make something, I will use spices from home that I am used to so I can have the flavor I want from home.”

A big part of Juru’s experience coming to the States is due to her sponsors Kathy and Paul Duncan. They are helping fund her education and providing support for her in Idaho.

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“They are more than just my sponsors. They are so loving, and I look at them and think of them as family,” said Juru.

This has been a big adjustment for Juru, but she has lots of support from friends and family. Her sister Lisa and her husband are also at BYU-Idaho, which has made it easier.

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“My sister and her wonderful husband are so supportive,”Juru said. “He has become my brother and family, and I know I can count on him.”

Juru hasn’t been home since moving to the States but keeps in close contact with her dad and extended family.

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“Thank goodness for internet. It allows me to keep in touch with my dad back home,” Juru said. “He is the pillar of my family. I always know he has my back. I call him for everything, even silly drama, and he makes me feel so much better. He just has that touch.”

Juru misses home and her family but is enjoying her opportunity to attend university in the States.

“My favorite part of being here is the people and the new experiences,” Juru said. “I’m so thankful for my roommates, friends, professors and opportunity to work at the school library.”

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