Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine “Profile” December 2008.
Against All Odds – A Story of Strength and Courage
By Carolynne Gamble
Imagine growing up without an education. No kindergarten, no elementary school, no junior high and no high school education. Not even home schooling. Nada. Nothing. What chance would you have in life?
Meet Sibadili Eusi who grew up like that in Fairfield, California– without an education. She could not read, write or spell throughout her childhood.
“I was raised by very tyrannical, religious parents to the point that I was not allowed to go out into the public,” she explained. “I was kind of in a bubble at home. I could not go to school or play with other kids.”
“I was forbidden to associate with anyone who was not of my parent’s faith. This was not allowed. Also, since the time I can remember, I was abused by an older brother, so there were a lot of issues,” she said, explaining her background and her past.
Siba got an ID at age 15 and went to work. She worked mostly warehouse jobs. At age 18, Siba tried to attend Adult School classes and couldn’t keep up with it because she didn’t have the background. “I just couldn’t do it so I dropped out,” said Siba. Along the way she even lived in a homeless shelter. “I don’t ever want to do that again,” she confessed. Later, at age 24, she got a truck-driving license for driving big rigs, which is what she had been doing to support herself for the past 3 years.
Today at 27, Siba lives with her sister and considers it a “great blessing.” She attends NV Adult Education’s Independent Study Program working toward her GED and HS Diploma. “I can’t get that if I go over the road,” she said.” “Driving a big rig requires 14-hour days, 7 days a week with free time spent sleeping and trying to rest. I can’t drive and go to school at the same time.”
Someone Positive Makes A Difference
“Since September I have accomplished a lot, said Siba proudly. “I didn’t have any idea what fractions were when I started, and in my Adult Education Independent Study class, I study math for hours.”
“It makes me feel better to go to school and talk with somebody that cares about my progress and my schoolwork. Melody Blake is a great teacher. She is a wonderful person with lots of knowledge, and she is definitely an inspiration to me,” said Siba.
Baby Steps to Big Rewards
Today Siba is in a stronger place, though it has taken years to build her self-confidence. “Now I can actually say what I am going to do. I am finishing my high school diploma work and am taking my GED test in December. Then I will take one class in college and the following semester, I will take two classes. I am taking baby steps,” she announced with conviction.
“I could never have done this interview 10 years ago, explained Siba. “In my family, you just don’t talk about your problems. And now I can tell people because I feel more confident.”
So where does all her strength and courage come from?
“You have the trials of life”, explained Siba,“ and every time you get hit, you come back stronger. You have to be careful you don’t build up too thick of a skin, I guess.”
“You have to fight through it. I always remember if I go back to driving a truck, I won’t accomplish my dreams. I am strong and I just keep going. And now I am beginning to see that life is getting better. I don’t care if it takes me 5 or 6 years. I know that one day I can go to a job, not have to move, and be happy.”
Opportunities at Napa Valley Adult Education
The Napa Valley Adult Education GED/ High School program is free and here’s how to get started: Call 707-253-3594 and sign up for Napa Valley Adult Education orientation. You then speak to a student advisor at 707-259-8466 and determine the best program for your career and your educational plans. There are 5 different GED/HS programs to accommodate all schedules and circumstances.