After a severe injury, sudden deaths and a civil war in his native Liberia, this farmer’s son is still making progress toward his business management degree at the Minnesota School of Business in Plymouth (MSB).
Rennie’s journey started in his native Africa. A farmer by trade, his younger years were spent working in his family’s fields. His other passion was, and is, fishing.
That hobby brought him within 10 feet of losing his life.
While fishing in the Atlantic Ocean in 1998, his party’s boat was refueling on shore. During the process, a faulty cable snapped, killing one of his fishing partners, and rupturing Booker’s kidney.
“Back home, people don’t take the same precautions,” he recalled. “We jumped into it, and didn’t really take the proper safety measures.”
Less than a year later, civil war broke out in Liberia. After three years of unrest, Booker and his family (two children, a sister and her five children) made their way to the United States in February 2002. After a brief stop in Maryland, they landed in Minnesota, where they have been since.
“That’s [coming to America] what most people were doing in Liberia,” he said. “The situation was getting worse…and it was best for me and my family to leave.”
Shortly after landing in the Twin Cities, Booker found a job at Boston Scientific. He is still there today, albeit with a more hectic schedule.
His nights are not filled with sleep, but with long hours at work. His typical daytime class schedule includes business management classes until the early morning hours, a brief rest, 6 hours of class, homework, a brief nap and then back to work at 10 p.m.
“It’s difficult, but I am doing my best,” he said.
Booker started at MSB in July 2010 with a concentration in agricultural business. He had hoped to parlay his years of farming into an opportunity with a fellow Liberian friend who owned a farm in Iowa. That plan was derailed with the passing of that friend. Now, Booker is focused on his current job.
“America is a big place with a lot of opportunity,” he said. “Right now, the biggest goal I have is to get a promotion, which will help me to educate my children and give my family a better life.”
After all that he’s been through, we think his prospects are due to be looking up.