Identity

This was the topic for our webinar this evening. How important is it for our children to speak the native language, cook native food etc?

It became imperative during the session that before we unpick our children’s identity, how do we as mother identify ourselves??. Examples were given of being a wife, mother, daughter, minister of the Gospel etc. How do we live out all these ‘titles’, does it matter what comes first? all these were questions we pondered.

With our children we agreed that nativism enriches their lives. It’s their heritage. We concluded that as far as identity is concerned it is more than food, drink, colour of your skin or even place of birth.

We acknowledged that our children are global citizens such that being a native of a particular nation would limit their experiences and world.

Having said that, as mothers of faith, our identity and that of our children is found in God. We are first and foremost children of God. He created us and knew us of before the foundation of the world. That is who we are.

Living out our faith and identity day to day, helps to define who we are in the eyes of our children. We are reminded that to as many as recieved Him, He has given them the right to become children of God.

Suggestions were made of reminding our children of their identity in God. Saying words such as ‘you are a mighty man of valour, a women of faith, a man of prayer, a princess etc’ helps to define them. As mothers of faith, we are prophets so we speak the promises of God concerning them.

References were drawn from the previous post on Black Panther and importance of speaking into the lives of our children.

As a mom, how do you identify yourself?

Milestones

What is this about?

The parenting webinar is a community initiative to build each other’s capacity and empower one another on the parenting journey.

This was birthed from the understanding that it takes a village to raise a child. This is a concept that I am very familiar with having been brought up in Zimbabwe. Growing up, I was raised by the community. Fast forward to my own parenting journey, the circumstances have changed. In a bid to find that community, a virtual one was created in February 2017.

I remember as a health visitor deliberating and talking about this with colleagues; the social isolation, the statistics on youth crime, gangs and changing face of society. What also struck me was how ethnic minority families were not accessing children centres for support. On a personal level, as a mom of teens, the need for support and encouragement became compelling.

The more I talked about it to family and friends, the more I realised the need. Ideas started flowing, fear also crept in as well. Fear of the unknown, being judged etc. With encouragement prayer and support from a lot of people here we are today.

As we celebrate this milestone we have covered 30 sessions out of the 52weeks as we initially ran the webinars forty nightly and then took breaks when needed e.g World cup semi- finals. Topics discussed ranged from boundary setting, managing inter-parental conflicts, understanding children’s love language, sleepovers, parenting and social care as well as the role of fathers to name a few. I have also covered some face to face sessions. I believe I have grown tremendously in understanding of self and the world around me. I thought I would share a few things with you.

Lessons learnt :

1️⃣- Start- Just do it! Do it afraid if you have to. Technical hitches do happen, prepare as much as you can and if it happens, do not lose face.

2️⃣- Enjoy- Some days it will be such great fun. Most days it will be hard from finding motivation, people to empower and simply being busy with life. Find joy anyway. Time flies when having fun. Having your vision scribbled somewhere, on a placard, note book or framed helps. It keeps you aligned and focused.

3️⃣- Engage your audience. Depending on the topic, allow people to share, suggest, ask questions. Be open minded about audience and potential client group.

4️⃣-Be on time. Being punctual is critical. Not only does it show that you are professional and serious, it demonstrates respect. Respect for your audience, their time and dedication.

5️⃣- Find people who can critically appraise what you are doing. Having feedback is key on moving forward. Encouragers are great, a critical friend is key and a keeper. Acknowledge them. Appreciate them.

6️⃣- Value- valuing yourself, your effort is also important. Don’t allow anyone to tell you otherwise.

7️⃣Back up- Yes, save, save your work, drafts and save again, especially in blogging and content preparation for the webinars. I can’t recall the number of times, my content just disappeared. That can make or break you. I learnt to get up and write again.

8️⃣Prayer- Remains the foundation and cornerstone in your building. Communicating about your vision, committing yourself and audience to God offers a place of clarity and understanding.

9️⃣Ask- ask for help and offer help when others need it. Having a support network makes all the difference. We receive what we give. By being present and available to others, it offers opportunity for reciprocity.

🔟 Losses and gains. Many people especially immediate family and friends will not get your vision. After all it’s yours. Don’t be discouraged. Familiarity does that and we are all guilty of that. You will lose familiar faces and gain more new ones. Embrace both.

1️⃣1️⃣ Conviction – Stand for what you believe and express yourself. In this journey, I am learning to speak my mind and mean what I say. I term that growth.

1️⃣2️⃣ Celebrate- celebrate both the big and small achievements. It is said ‘ do not despite the days of small beginnings’ and remember Rome was not built in a day.

Here is to the future. For what it will be, we entrust in Him. What we know is that there is grace and hope.

If you are interested in joining our growing community, you are most welcome. Our Zoom webinars are weekly on a Friday at 8pm UK time. Do get in touch ( whatsapp, messenger, facebook, instagram).

Hopeful ❤

Mama

Day 10

“You are the bows from which your children

as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,

and He bends you with His might

that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,

so He loves also the bow that is stable”. Khalil Gibran

What a privilege to be called mom. My transitioning into motherhood was fraught with fear, uncertainty, depression and ignorance. I struggled with attachment and then got separated from my son at 11months whilst I came to UK. It was by choice, by the way. Was I thinking straight? I am not sure. Anyway, that a story on its own for another day.

There is a grace to make it even if you started badly. That grace is available today for you. Reach out to Him to help you. Motherhood challenging as it is, can be fulfilling. I ask the father of all flesh to bless you with His love, grace and favor today as you look to Him for guidance. May He show you His tender mercies and the beauty of His strong everlasting arms. Feel His warm embrace and the lifting of burdens.

Lord we thank you and honour you today and always. ♥️🙏🏽

Motherhood and well being

Webinar

We were talking motherhood and well being on the webinar this evening.

The ladies acknowledged that life can be busy and hectic but taking time out to recharge is important. We also acknowledged that as diaspora parents, lack of extended family support is a massive challenge.

Some of the comments from the attendees:

” Know that you do not love your family if your do not look after yourself. Who is going to take care of them if you burn out?”

“Don’t give ashes to your family when you have burnt out”

Remember what they tell you on the plane in case of emergency???

“Put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you put it on your child”.

Strategies used by some of the moms in enhancing their well being.

‘-Me time’ at the swimming pool as well as reading and listening to biblical podcasts.

-Exercising together as family, thereby being a role model and looking after our health.

-Praying alone and with other ladies. Being willing to be open and vulnerable with other mothers about our challenges.

– Building and maintaining a social network.

– Learn and be prepared for the seasons of life. For example unplanned pregnancies potentially may cause a strain on role transition into motherhood.

– Learning from other moms from all age groups and of different seasons.

– Looking to God for counsel and wisdom.

– Empower the older children to help with younger siblings with activities around the house.

-Getting hubby or significant other to help with childcare whilst I attend to ‘me’.

– A bath soak with candles, oils and a book is always a good easy treat.

-Platforms such this webinar, to come and learn together, building our own online village.

How do you unwind? What strategies have you seen or heard that are helpful? Would love to hear from you. xxx

Seed of Hope 💕💕

Black Panther

I loved Wakanda. For me, the central message was the power and authority that mama’s have.

“Tell him who you are!” ♥️

These are the words of Ramonda, Queen mother of Wakanda to her son Tchalla, during a battle to defend his throne.

In moments of fear, uncertainty and frustration, as a mother what do you tell your children? Is your voice that of assurance and definition?.

Moments of fear, frustration are ‘perfect’ moments to look your child square in the eye and remind them of who they are! The world may see so many things in our children but no one knows them like mama does. The world can tell our children so many things too. However, we can speak into the greatness that is right inside of them and defend their destiny.

I believe as mothers especially mothers of faith, we are our own children’s prophets. What are you speaking into your children’s lives? My favourite affirmations are: ‘all my children shall be taught of the Lord and great shall be their peace’, ‘You are for signs and wonders’.

Time and again I remind my children of their strengths and address their frustrations and anxieties with a calming voice of prayer, hug, note or even a letter. I like to pray for them in my quiet devotional time. I also enjoy praying with them, lifting them up before the father of all flesh. It’s powerful and they appreciate it.

 

One other thing am finding helpful with parenting teens season are notes or even letters. I like to express myself on paper, letting my children know that I notice the worries on their faces some days, the pressure and stress of friendships as well as exams. I journal some prayers too.

 

The greatest armour I am using more these days is intentional hug. Yes, hug. I guess it’s difficult for anyone to say no to a hug. While I am hugging either my 17year son or 13year old daughter, depending on the mood and context, I speak quietly or loudly into their spirit. I believe we all want to reminded of who we are. We all want to be encouraged time again. The power of touch, disarming and healing.

I remind them of their destiny and call of God upon their lives. You are a mighty man of valour, a Gedion of your generation. You are a mighty woman of God, called to your generation. A women of impact and authority, your light will never dim. I like to call forth those destinies in prayer.

What are your thoughts, would love to her from you?

#voiceofhope

#wakandawednesday

Chapter 13

This has come sooner that I had anticipated. Mixed emotions I do say! Part of me would love to have you remain my baby forever and the other gets really excited about the woman you are becoming.

You are a beautiful flower to watch, blossoming in your thinking and understanding of your world and those around you. You challenge us as parents to be more and better. You encourage us to be better citizens and deepen our love in the things that set us on fire.

You are amazing Bubu. I am not only saying so because I am your mom, those who take time to know you, will attest to that.

I pray that you never lose your passion, strength and conviction for the things you love and believe in. That element of your personality, is a gift from God to you and the world, share it as often as you can.

As you continue to tower over us, I want you to know that there is no limit to what you set your mind to accomplish.

Enjoy being a teenager, it’s a unique era. I will try not to be anxious, not sure I have any anxiety left. Laugh more, it will keep your heart lighter and the sparkle in your eyes brighter. Take lots and lots of photos; selfies, food, travels, friends, and all, you will treasure them all.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, you will learn from them. Remember you can never drink too much water.

Above all, always know that He has you inscribed in the palms of His hands.

Happy birthday sweetie.

Enjoy the cake.

Love you always and forever

Mom x 🎉🎉🎂💕

Loving your children

A dear cousin sent me this amazing youtube clip and I had to share. Initially, I was going to copy and paste on social media, praying that it blesses someone like it did to me.

There, in that process of doing that ,I begun to reflect in action. The message touched me, as a mom who struggles many a times to get it right with my children.

The teaching of David Wilkerson sounded sincere, as a grandad wanting to impart some wisdom to the younger generation. Indeed, he did just that for me, hopefully for you too. I have sat many a times with colleagues and friends pouring our hearts out about the state of our society and children, the challenges we face and constraints that are seemingly in place to fail our children.

If anything, like any mom, I want them to do well. The responsibility and requirements to parent seem colossal compared to when I was growing up. This clip doesn’t address that, however it explains on what I can do as mom, in this challenging environment. I now have to learn what I didn’t see or experience growing up and that has been and remains my biggest challenge.

David Wilkerson shares is an undiluted truth on the responsibility of parents for our children and what’s happening in our society. We can do something and more with all the challenges we face. His message is, who is watching what’s coming into your home? What are we allowing our children to bring into our homes? We have the authority, responsibility and accountability of what comes in.

I have been there and still do, where I have felt it’s me against the world, my children’s friends, media, different cultures, values, school etc. It is incredibly exhaustingly on all levels, I get it and know it too well. The world and its powers would want us to do just that, give in and give up. Our children are too precious to do that.

Parents in diaspora, we now know how time poor we are and the scarcity of social networks to support us in our journey. For us, first generation migrants, parenting abroad is a new phenomenon with all its complexities. Those we relate to better, the ones we jumped ship with and swapped our identities for a better life, seem new and bewildered with the challenges we face. Where do we go from here?

We work very hard and all hours at trying to make ends meet, ofcourse we have to pay the bills. Maybe, once the bills are paid and we have sent a little for the folks back home, maybe, we can just sit at home and listen to our children. Maybe, we can forgo a huge Christmas celebration and all the designer prezzies and just enjoy each other’s company while we watch the door. Maybe we can pay more attention to who our children are watching and listening to.

It’s key to note that our children’s friends no longer come to knock on the door asking for our children to come out and play. How easy it was then, to approve or disapprove! It is no longer so, for those of us with teenagers and older children. Their friends are online, keeping them wide awake at night right in the four corners of our homes.

I have spoken to friends who have managed to nail art of contouring their faces in a bid to enhance what God has given them. Their verdict is, it takes time but practice makes perfect. Getting it right with and for our children, I believe takes time and it’s worth it. When all is said and done, they grow quickly too.

I also believe in the power of prayer. Gods says I have a heart for a praying parent. Your prayers are not in vain. We can have righteous anger for the lives and future of our children. Pray with conviction and without ceasing for the matters affecting them.

I have also come to this understanding: may have less control of what happens out there but I have accountability of what comes through the doors of our home and that includes via internet.

I also have a responsibility to model the life I expect of my children. I have to be at home mind/ body/ spirit to guard my house, no one else will.
y children, be alert and not sleep on the job.

If you have observed palace guards you know how they take their responsibilities seriously. They know the value of what they are guarding. This dude here 👇🏾 at Prague Castle didn’t move or even smile at all despite all our antics. It’s because he was on duty and guarding what has been entrusted to him. So are we as parents.


‭‭ ‭

David Wilkerson Sermon

https://youtu.be/2AvQyCoVPKM

Remain encouraged and intentional 🌱

My gift to my children


August 2012 Olde Barn hotel.

Thanks to Facebook for this reminder. What sweet memories!! These two have now grown very fast right before our eyes. We didn’t know THEN the memories we were creating and the rituals that have now become so ingrained as family traditions.

I pray for our children. I pray that they will find kindness amongst their generation. I ask the Lord to be their shield and banner, to keep and sustain them. I pray that they will always find help when they need it. May the Lord surround them with sincere friends who will bring out the best in them. I commend them to the mercies of God for their future.

I pray for our children that they find joy and happiness in what they put their minds, hearts and hands to do. May they know the satisfaction that comes from enduring hard work. I pray for the eternal blessing of knowing God and walking in His ordinances over our children. They are my greatest blessing and I am grateful to God.

I pray that they will love and respect each other. I ask the Lord to bind them with cords of love that cannot be broken. I speak into their relationship, that they will be each other’s keeper. I ask for grace and strength into their lives, to champion one another in things that are meaningful and of good report.
August 2012..Peterborough Cathedral.

I ask the Lord that their lives be full, filled with hearts of service to His kingdom, His people and themselves. I pray for our children that they will remember their mother and father’s sacrifice. I pray that they will find those sacrifices worthwhile. I ask the Lord to give our children forgiving hearts for where we failed. I pray that our children will become better parents than we were. I pray that our children will treasure and honour our relationship with them.

August 2017, Porto

I pray that our children will find love. I ask the Lord that He will give them life partners that know Him first. I pray that our children will find time to laugh in those relationships.

I thank God for our children. I thank Him for hearing and answering our prayers as parents.

I will always pray for our children. Prayer is my gift to our children ❤

Summer-saults

The saga continues

So far summer has been bliss. The planning has taken the pressure of me in amazing ways. Prayer and lots of it has gone into this planning. The idea is to have an enjoyable and memorable summer. For us as parents, the reality of our children growing too fast and time sipping through our fingers has become such poignant truth.

We are keen to make the memories of today meaningful both now and for generations to come. That takes time and being intentional. Intentional of our family time, activities we do or don't do together and how we spend time with other people. Being away from each is great, as the distance makes the heart grow fonder.

An incident that happened during the half term taught me to be more organise when it comes to the children's time and their friends.

What exactly happened was that I was sitting on the train, on my way to work when at exactly 8am, a text message came inviting my daughter for a shopping trip with a friend the following day. Of course, it was school half term and I had forgotten to fill this one day of the half term week with activities and appointments. The predicament was that I had said no to a couple of invitations before, to this particular dear friend. It was a matter of timing and other family commitments.
 

I was well spent financially, and I would have needed to organise the pick up, drop off etc. Not what I expected on that day. My daughter thinks the world of this particular dear friend. Yes, they have recently started high school together and they 'clicked'.

I had filled the 5 out of 7days in a week with things to do. We had friends over for bank holiday Monday. Both adults and children, enjoyed the company, conversations and cuisine. We then visited another dear friend, 50miles each way and had a truly magical time on that Tuesday. Forget the food bill befitting the 21st century 2 teen instagram postings. Come Wednesday, both children had play dates and a sleepover whilst I ran around chauffeuring them. I also busied myself with lastminute preparations for the new job the following day some miles away from home. Hubby was off  the next day and took our cherubs for bowling and eat out. Girl done good, I told myself.

Until that morning and this text message, I had been absorbed in my own little world. I had done what most mothers do for their children. Since primary school days, I know how critical play dates are. My thinking was that at her  age my daughter can now sort her play dates. Since this was never mentioned at the agreed 'three days before' I assumed we were all fair and square.

At this stage, I decided not to feel bad about it. I was on my second day in a new job, away from home. I was trying my best to make sense of my new world. My plate was full. In actual fact,  in my mind I had planned for a mother- daughter time at my mother church on the morrow. Great opportunity to see my wonderful mother Bishop/ mentor/ teacher and inteccessor and of course my delightful cousin sister and her two beautiful girls. My daughter does not think attending church events is really spending quality time with me. I totally get it.

Personally, I feel it's a good opportunity to catch up with each other as well as other fellow like minded and inspiring sisters. A woman needs to be surrounded by like minded women, to inspire and challenge, so I tell her. We have managed to make the arrangement work with a lot of persuasion and bargaining. We alternate the dates, She comes with me to my events and next time we do something that she loves, usually fancy eat outs.

Anyway, back to the text message. At 5:35 pm, I was back on the train on my way home. It dawned on me that I had not responded to the message. I had made this poor woman and her daughter wait 😟. Thats a no no. It does not help with the repertoire malarkey. Why does a mother have to go through all this?! You can imagine my emotional turmoil. At this stage I emotionally spent, having spent a solid 8hours trying to prove why I got the job and my worthiness. And now this. How do I say no to this invite and this late? I hate explaining myself in text messages for that matter. Is it not enough that I am trying to be a positive role model to my children,  organised,  working hard, making a difference and being balanced? I hate coming short. 

I felt terrible for ruining my daughter's social life. How was she going to cope with no friends at school? What about missing out on all those instagram/ snapchat stories about the shopping weekend that she wasn't part of? Could this be emotional abuse or neglect? Who knows. At this point, life sucks. Don't mention how I was going to break it down to her when I got home! It's an emotional roller coaster.

Somehow, there is a part in me that feels our daughter is fragile and vulnerable as a young woman. It's not a question of gender but the flaws in her personality. She thinks well of everyone, very trusting at the same time incredibly opiniated. Furthermore, some of big brother's experiences have left us slightly wary of these social outings. We allow him because he is 17years old and soon to go and find his space in the adult world in no time. The boy needs to practice being responsible and accountable so we tell ourselves.

I remember vividly another culture shock incident that happened when our daughter was in primary school aged 5years. I had agreed to a play date only to cancel it on the day a few hours before because of other family commitments.  In my own head, I didn't think it was a problem. However,  this wasn't the case with her friend who went on to have a full melt down. The whole thing was a mess to say the least. You can imagine how unhappy the mother was. Luckily, I explained my oversight and she was willing to fill me in on my cultural gap. Never again, have I done that!

This culture around play dates can be very complex and intimidating. It is critical that I send the right message to my children without disrespecting their friends as well as the friends' parents. My children are also learning about managing social dynamics. O what a cobweb we weave!

As mothers, we have to be kind to ourselves. There is no such thing called perfect parenting but good parenting.  I have learnt that saying no is a good thing for them as well. So in the end it was finalised that there was not going to be a shopping trip. 

I owe her friend a date, thankfully that's all sorted. Here is to us off to write our own story in the sand.

 

Lessons I have personally learnt:

– Your children need friends, it's a basic human need. It's important to know who they befriend. Birds of the same feather flock together and that is so true. As they grow older it's good to guide them to make that fundamental decision themselves. 

High school play dates and dynamics can be a tsunami. We are trying to work it all out and it's a journey we have to go through with our youngest. What makes it all complex is the little connection we have with their friends and their families. When they were in primary school, we knew the parents from the playground and we arranged the play dates as mothers.

Now we are having to rely on what our children tell us about their friends. Yes, some of them you meet them with their parents at the parents evening etc. There is not enough time nor conducive atmosphere to sass each other out and work through the layers, masks and airs that we carry as parents on such occasions.

The lack of time, to be involved in school activities, PTA, bingo and quiz nights doesn't help. How do we create that time as first generation migrant families? How do we prioritise our children without neglecting our parents and even ourselves?

– Living in a diverse and multi-cultural society, it can present a lot of challenges. As a mom, follow your gut instinct. A good friend and their family will respect your family values and beliefs.

-Be organised and proactive about dates, sleepovers etc. For me the idea of our daughter being invited all the time is what I struggle with. My idea of summer break/ school holiday/ half term is for us as a family to catch up. Up until now, I assumed that was absolutely fine. So I'm taking the initiative to invite.

– It also transpires that play dates are mostly for childcare purposes. Sad as it may sound, it's the truth.

-Activities do not have to cost an arm and a leg. Best things in life are still free ; libraries, museums, picnics, church activities and a walk in the woods. National Trust membership is a great bargain for history and culture activities.

– Holiday breaks are not a luxury but a necessity. With good planning,they shouldn't cost a fortune. 

Comminicate, communicate and comunicate. 

-Be compassionate; Understand and emphathise with your children. It's hard trying to fit in. Teenagers especially, due to their brain development struggle with identity, worse off if there is culture clash. Be in their world, invite their friends over and get to know them.

– Encourage them to take up sports, arts or other extra curriculum activities. This is an investment that pays for itself.

– Choose your battles carefully. The adage ' better to win the war than battle' cannot be emphasised.

Happy holidays x

Hope makes a way ❤

Fortitude

The willingness or ability to go through challenging times with grace. Is it a gift, talent or inborn ability that is sharpened and honed through experience?

I was privileged to have met and worked with some young women who survived the genocide in Rwanda. Their stories of horror, escape, loss and terror can only be heard once. The impact of their experiences on their bio-psychosocial well being was immense. What was amazing about these women was their willingness and ability to share their story. Very compelling. 

I also worked with vulnerable families in parts of London. Stories of parents who were hooked on drugs, unable to parent their adorable children confronted me on most days. It was the case of a mother of 3, youngest was same age as my daughter, who had succumbed to the deadly addiction of heroin that broke my heart and I never went back. Their struggle, took the best out of them. Is it these kind of experiences from a distance that make us hold our own with dignity?

Not privileged to compare or contrast the challenges of life, I look myself in the mirror with admiration. I am a fortiduous woman. Am I comparing myself to the above mentioned women? Not at the least. I have been fortunate, life has been kind and God has been gracious. I have been in the ring and He fought my battles. I’m grateful that I didn’t stay down too long for the referee to whistle a defeat. I could have been that mother, but Mercy spoke into my life and stood on my behalf.

 In my first blog, ‘Transnational parenting’  I explored the issue of postnatal depression. These sort of experiences, you only realise the depth, once you are the other side. Gods grace and love carries us through in those seasons, when we are just a shell being battered to and fro by the sea waves. One becomes a pearl,  a product of admiration and worth through the struggles. What’s amazing is that I was not that aware of His presence and sustainance then. I knew about Him as a God, not friend, helper. That one person I can have a relationship with. He has been gracious on this wonderful journey and I am getting to know Him better.

Our experiences in life may want to define us at times.  It is up to us how we deal with that.  People around us or those who know us and our story may want to define us that way. Ultimately, the decision lies with you. The woman with the issue of blood in the Bible is one such character. She was associated/ identified with her problem. I guess when she was healed, people had to refer to her as the woman who was healed of the issue blood.


Fortitude takes many forms. I could never have anticipated or imagined the pain of losing a sibling or loved one. It’s crippling! I was confused and literally dying too. The shock, pain and reality of that loss was incomprehensible. Death is painful to everyone but I guess it gets so complicated when you are abroad. The long flight home, being in transit, jet lag, the mourners and the  funeral itself. How do you eat the reheated airline food when your heart is sorrowful and heavy? 

When you arrive you succumb to the heat, noises, decision making,  the crying and ofcourse the peering eyes. They will always be those who want to see what you are wearing and what you brought. I had not even taken a shower! Let alone travelled 15hours, passing through the equator in transit for that matter. Nearly missed the flight due to road works and traffic. How does one deal with all that in one go?

My sister was bright, colourful and vivacious. She loved and understood my family and they got her too. Being single, she could afford the time to be with them whenever we visited home. They loved that, and I did too. The laughter they shared. She cared. She was a dreamer and goal getter. At most, she was a mother to my children  that I am not; patient, laid back and a child at heart.

Then there is the other small but equally demanding stuff of fitting into a different society and culture. That, requires courage right there. I know a friend who couldn’t do ‘the London thing’ and had to go back home. She tells me she could not be happier; got a beautiful home in the westen suburbs, lovely job and her children are doing really well in a good private school. 
It takes fortitude and a whole lot more to settle in diaspora. It is a far cry  from the glitz and glamour most people imagine it to be. It’s grafting in gruelling long hours. I’m reminded of the days I worked on the farm. That was my first job. Boy did I not cry my eyes out on the onion line.

I recall making a long distance call after  first day at work to my mother and bowling on the phone booth. If you recall, these were public phones and there two other people waiting to use the phone.  I cried for the entire duration of my £5 worth of calling scratch card. Bless my poor mother, she kept saying to me:

‘Taura neni otherwise card rinopera”, meaning please talk to me before the phone credit finishes. 

Indeed, the phone credit finished and I went home, straight to bed. In the morning I woke up and went to work. What was equally painful was hearing my then 1year old son babbling in the background.

For me fortitude is an idea and a choice. I choose to be courageous for those who couldn’t. Whilst doing nursing degree I met some middle aged African nurses who had come under the adaption nurses program. These women were dynamic and highly skilled nurses who held positions of authority and high office in their home country. The cultural shift and expectation had left them as a mere pair of helping hands on the wards. Their despair and frustration was not hidden from their faces. It was ‘them’ who silently taught me to be fortidous. It is for them and many others that we stand and are courageous. 

Above all, it is for those coming after us. Those who have a privilege of watching us closely, that we demonstrate courage in the face of fear. It is for our sons and daughters. 

📌The issues of death, loss and bereavement can be crippling especially when you are abroad where you have to get on with it. The reality of expenses incurred to attend the funeral and the funeral itself can be soul destroying. It’s important to seek help, from family and friends if there are physically and emotionally there. In U.K. that’s quite rare, your GP can refer you on for counselling, talking therapies or to charities that deal with bearevement and loss.

📌The same can be said of issues at work. Talking to someone about the challenges you are facing is good. This may not solve all your problems but it gives you thinking space. Hearing your own thoughts through voice can be liberating and empowering. Many a times, for those who are Christians, we leave everything in prayer. Prayer is great but it needs to be followed by action which is faith. Finding an independent counselling service is better.  Your union is a great source for advice and guidance, you are paying them, make use of their services.
In U.K. migrant family support offer great services around the issues discussed. They can be contacted in their website signposted below:

Life is for living. Live it to the full in good health, mind, body and spirit.

Finally, be courageous and confident, for the Lord your God is with you always (Joshua 1, summarised).

Courageous hope ❤
 

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