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From Gibberish to Dreams: The Journey of Nyari "Chanakira" Park

girl with other kids

"Nyari, what are you saying?" Those were the words my cousins would always ask me as we played and chased each other around the yard at my grandparents' compound. I was pretending to speak English, but in actuality, I was speaking gibberish. From the time I could play pretend with my cousins, this was my favorite game. I was probably just 2 and a half years old. As we grew up, I would mutter from time to time with great conviction, "I'm going to get married to a white man," and then continue playing with my dolls or mud as if nothing had happened.

My story, like every person's story on this Earth, carries a unique message and is woven on the foundations of great heroes and heroines who have come and gone. It is an honor that the King of the Universe has entrusted me to testify of His goodness and mercy over my life from the time I was born until now.

Chapter 1: The Seed of Blessings

My story may appear to begin with sorrow. My daddy, Jordan Manetsa Chanakira, passed away on August 25, 1990, while my mother was still pregnant with me. I would later come into the world on January 24, 1991. The world could have labeled me an orphan and pitied me for my early loss. However, the Lord works in mysterious ways. My greatest loss became the seedbed for God to grow an oasis of blessings around me.

grandmother with girl and boy

Chapter 2: A Snapshot of Genesis

A single photograph captures a moment in time. In the picture of me sitting in a maize field with my paternal grandmother, Mrs. Joyce Mandifusa Chanakira, and my cousin brother, Amon, you can see the genesis of my upbringing. This image represents the beginning of my upbringing. From the age of 3, I was raised by my grandparents, Joyce and Phineas Chanakira, because my mother had remarried.

Chapter 3: From Orphan to "Boot Camp"

At the age of 6, I was taken in by my aunt and uncle, Mr. & Mrs. Douglas and Shelpha Masviba, who raised me as their daughter. My aunt, whom I affectionately call "moms," referred to my upbringing as "boot camp." Despite the challenges, it was the best mentorship school God allowed me to go through. This experience laid the foundation for becoming the "Nyari" that many of my friends and family know today. It was a transformative journey that showed me the importance of women supporting and mentoring one another.

My sister Tsitsi was always my biggest role model, she not only showed me the ropes and led by example but she loved me as her little sister. There’s so much that happens to you when others see value in you and cheer you on, I adore Tsits, still do, everything she did l tried my best to follow in her footsteps, I’ll never forget when she would write me emails after moving here to America for Tennis and she’d say “Nyari, l want you to make your own path and follow your dreams.” Sis, thank you for believing in me, for mentoring me. Likewise my other big sister Tabitha also blazed the path for me

Chapter 4: Mentors and Dreams

I believe in the vision and mission of Dream Mentorship because I was once a young girl with big dreams and very few resources. The reason l believe in the vision and mission of Dream Mentorship and seeing women living their God given dreams is because l was among that statistics of young girls with big dreams and very little resources and my aunt saw something in me by the grace of God and afforded me a livelihood my own mom couldn’t afford. My sister, Tsitsi and other incredible women played a crucial role in my life. They saw something in me, believed in me, and invested in my dreams. Their mentorship and support paved the way for my journey.

woman smiling

It’s amazing to see how 6 weeks can truly change the trajectory of your life. I don’t say this lightly but this DreamUp Experience was like God was realigning my dreams and purpose. We all need direction when it come to executing our goals, DreamUp was the navigating tool that God used to help propel me into a life of success, joy and fulfillment in my God given abilities. Not only did this experience allow me to focus on the work l need to do to achieve my dreams but it also validated my worth and that today l am enough. Being a wife and a mommy is my highest calling and l was elated to be paired with my amazing mentor, Mrs Diane Jamison. A phenomenal lady of faith and an amazing leader in the educational arena. Her love and expertise in science and overall education career was and continues to be a great asset to me as l embark on my journey to homeschooling my children. Ms. Diane is truly sent from heaven and I’m very grateful for her life experiences that are enriching my own dreams and roles in being the wife, mom and entrepreneur that God’s called me to be. It’s honestly hard to summarize the impact that this experience has had on my life from here on forward, however l pray that God would use the tools, knowledge and encouragement l received to show a better Nyari and to reflect His glory.

Chapter 5: Dreams Come True

Because someone chose to mentor the Dream God gave me…today l can speak English well enough l hope. I managed to complete my high school education here in the US, l earned my Bachelor’s in Business Management, worked for my favorite alma mater post graduation and l am married to my Korean-American Prince Charming Jason Park and Jesus has given us the sweetest children to raise together in His way and for His glory. Beyond my wildest dreams I am the new program manager for a Jesus loving, God honoring, women empowering nonprofit— is there anything too hard for God?

family with children and husband and wife

Beyond my wildest dreams, I am living a life that reflects the power of mentorship, the strength of women supporting each other, and the boundless grace of God.

From speaking gibberish to achieving dreams, my journey is a testament to the transformative power of mentorship, the profound impact of strong women, and the unwavering grace of God. As we sing, "Jesus loves me, this I know," may our lives echo His love, investing in the dreams of others and helping them reach their full potential.

Would you join me in paying it forward by helping another girl or woman's dream too, today?

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