Alimita http://www.alimita.co.uk Transforming lives Fri, 15 Jun 2018 20:57:11 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.12 Belonging in Zimbabwe in Conversation with Young People http://www.alimita.co.uk/belonging-in-zimbabwe-in-conversation-with-young-people/ http://www.alimita.co.uk/belonging-in-zimbabwe-in-conversation-with-young-people/#respond Thu, 14 Jun 2018 11:13:11 +0000 http://www.alimita.co.uk/?p=110 http://alicempofucoles.blogspot.com/2018/02/belonging-in-zimbabwe-conversations.html

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Black History Month In Conversation with University of Reading http://www.alimita.co.uk/black-history-month-in-conversation-with-university-of-reading/ http://www.alimita.co.uk/black-history-month-in-conversation-with-university-of-reading/#respond Thu, 14 Jun 2018 11:06:03 +0000 http://www.alimita.co.uk/?p=107

Black History Month: In Conversation with Alice Mpofu-ColesWe are proud to present this ‘in conversation’ event with UoR Alumna Alice Mpofu-Coles as part of Black History Month. Alice is a former Zimbabwean diplomat, was herself a refugee, is a former chairwoman of the Reading Refugee Support Group, and has been honoured for her work to improve perceptions of refugees through projects, talks, and writing.

Posted by University of Reading on Wednesday, 25 October 2017

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Former Zimbabwean refugee on the transforming power of education http://www.alimita.co.uk/former-zimbabwean-refugee-on-the-transforming-power-of-education/ http://www.alimita.co.uk/former-zimbabwean-refugee-on-the-transforming-power-of-education/#respond Sun, 30 Oct 2016 17:32:49 +0000 http://www.alimita.co.uk/?p=75 Alice Chigumira came to the UK in 2002 as a refugee from Zimbabwe where she’d worked for the Minister of Foreign Affairs for 12 years. She grew up during a time of social upheaval and distress, eventually forced out by political instability, to settle in Reading. As a widow with two small children, Alice adjusted to some huge changes and turned to education to give her the skills, knowledge and confidence she needed to embrace her new life. And, alongside her role as an adult social worker she continues to challenge prejudice, stereotypes and misconceptions by advocating a more positive image of refugees. In 2014, Alice was recognised by the OU for her contribution to public services, education and culture and awarded an Honorary Master of the University degree.

‘I couldn’t be who I was before’

“I had such a sense of self and self-worth when I was working, when I was a diplomat, I had everything going for myself and my family, but life’s environments and events can take everything away from you.

I can’t really complain about what happened because that would stop me going forward – it happened. But I did lose my self-worth. I came to this country and couldn’t be who I was before.

“I had to start from scratch and I took any job I could find. So, I went from working with the Zimbabwean Foreign Minister to doing menial jobs, and this can make you lose your sense of worth; you think, ‘Really, is this what I’m worth?’

“Life in the UK was very different from life in Zimbabwe and I spent a considerable time getting used to the differences – including the climate!”

‘Knowledge is power’

Alice’s environment and family finances prevented her from furthering her education in the way she’d hoped in Zimbabwe, so she enrolled in secretarial college. Education has always been important to her, and she used it to help her find herself again in the UK.

Knowledge is powerful, no one can take it away from you. You can lose everything in your life, but no one can take away your knowledge; that’s what makes education so powerful.

“I thought about trying for a degree, but couldn’t imagine how, as a widow with two small children, I’d be able to fit in study. Then I heard about the OU.

“The Open University changed my life during the time when I really needed something to give me a purpose. I was ill and I had breast cancer and I didn’t have anything to look forward to. I picked up a magazine one day when I was sitting lamenting on my five months sick leave, thinking what am I going to do? I saw an advert for The Open University and I thought ‘I’m still working in Social Care, what else can I do?’ That was the start of it. I applied and they helped me through a difficult time. Every day I had a purpose to wake up in the morning and study and I haven’t stopped since then.”

And she hasn’t. After completing a certificate with the OU, she went on to do a BA and then an MA with Reading University.

“Taking that first step and registering to study opened doors for me. After completing my Certificate in Social Sciences, I went on to do a BA in Social Work and enjoyed it so much that I progressed to an MA in International Relations, an area I’m passionate about. Studying has developed me personally and has transformed my skills career-wise.

Knocked by life events

Alice now works as an adult social worker and still campaigns for what she passionately believes in. The Reading Refugee Support Group helped Alice to establish herself in the UK and she served as the group’s chairwoman helping many local refugees build their lives in the UK. Her work empowers refugees to adapt to their new situations, learn new skills, forge new careers and build a better life for themselves.

“I’m now employed as a social worker for adults and am an activist in my own way. I work with refugees and with organisations dealing with those suffering deprivation, and I try to develop myself in between working and being a wife and mother.

“Not only has my career developed, but so have my personality and persona in the sense that I’m not just a 9 to 5 employee, but I also enhance my skills by working in a charitable way for other issues that I see as important in the world.

“You might have been knocked by life events, whether that be a death in the family, or marriage, or losing your work or other things, but that doesn’t mean the human being in you has been taken away. These are life events and by trying to do something for yourself, knowing you’re doing it for you and knowing your purpose, you’ll get there. I truly believe knowledge is powerful.”

“When I was doing my MA it was very difficult because I still had to work. I had breast cancer at the time. The illness just impacts totally on your health; you don’t have any strength. But my children were there to make sure I could do it and would tell me, like they always have, that I have the strength in there and they motivated me to continue.”

‘Such a proud moment’

Alice has been motivated by her children’s encouragement and serves as an excellent role model to them and others, proving that education can open doors. She was particularly proud to receive an honorary degree from the OU for her contribution to public services, education and culture.

“Receiving my honorary degree was such a proud moment for me. It was incredible to be able to relate so much to every student who was walking up to receive their certificate or BA or whatever they’d studied for. I thought back to the moment when I’d done my first degree and the tears that were flooding there. Parents and relatives were there and felt so moved that their family members were graduating. Afterwards I did a lot of talking with students and parents and it’s incredible how much the OU moves so many people.

What’s next for Alice when she’s achieved so much already?

“I’m now thinking about doing a PhD. I’ve had talks with the OU and am going to sit down with a few people and talk about options.

“There are always risks in life, but I’m willing to take a risk. I’m interested in things to do with humanity; there’s a refugee crisis in the world – 50 million more refugees than there were in the Second World War. We need to be kinder to each other when things go bad.

And what would she say to someone thinking of studying?

“If you’re thinking of coming to The Open University take that step now, there are people waiting to help you and you don’t know how it can make you feel great.”

Alice Chigumira gave a keynote speech at the OU’s Charter Day celebrations earlier this year about her experiences, her education and her passion for books.

 

First Published on the Open University Website.

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Poole Degree Ceremony, Thursday 23 October 14:30 http://www.alimita.co.uk/poole-degree-ceremony-thursday-23-october-1430/ http://www.alimita.co.uk/poole-degree-ceremony-thursday-23-october-1430/#respond Sun, 30 Oct 2016 16:34:11 +0000 http://www.alimita.co.uk/?p=60 ]]>

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Reading: A ‘City Of Sanctuary’ http://www.alimita.co.uk/reading-a-city-of-sanctuary/ http://www.alimita.co.uk/reading-a-city-of-sanctuary/#respond Sun, 30 Oct 2016 16:31:11 +0000 http://www.alimita.co.uk/?p=58 ]]>

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A letter to the President of Zimbabwe R.G. Mugabe for Christmas http://www.alimita.co.uk/a-letter-to-the-president-of-zimbabwe-r-g-mugabe-for-christmas/ http://www.alimita.co.uk/a-letter-to-the-president-of-zimbabwe-r-g-mugabe-for-christmas/#respond Fri, 16 Sep 2016 08:37:24 +0000 http://www.alimita.co.uk/?p=28 Dear Mr President,

The first time I saw you when my grandfather Patrick Nyaude Madzima died on 18th July 1985, he was 75 years old.  Maybe you remember him or the family. The village he comes from is 2 miles from your Kutama Village in Zvimba.  Just to remind you this place is called Madzima where the descendants of the Madzima live. It has women, children and men.  It is a place you have totally forgotten about.  My grandfather was a Sabhuku (headman for his village), a highly honourable man who cared for his community.  You came to the funeral on a Saturday with a few cars and less delegation of bodyguards like you do now.  We were not shoved out of the way when you arrived.  I remember how you went around and greeted everybody paying your condolences.  People did not come to you, you went to the people and you were part of the mourners.  You did not make a speech but sat with other elders for a while.  I knew it was you because I had seen you on television.  I was 20 years old and loved my grandfather for what he stood for – the community and a lot of integrate.  He headed his village to great heights. The small scale farm he had had given him pride. He had won several medals for being a great farmer.  He fed his family and others through labouring on his farm.  He sent his 5 children to good schools like Honde Valley, Moleli boarding school, paying through selling his crops and rearing animals like cows, goats and pigs. All his children now lived in urban areas and we went there every school holiday to eat and be merry.  We left with many bags full of farm products happy to have both worlds. Families were adequately sustained and lived a decent life. I looked at you on that day looking immaculately dressed in a suit and thought what an intelligent man who had bought independence to our country.

The Madzima Primary school in my mother’s village functioned well with teachers, normal classes and produced good results. The nearest high school Masiyarwa did the same. The fees were subsidised by government and everybody attended school wearing a uniform. Kutama Mission School was run by the Catholic missionaries and was atoned only for the best.  When the students did not have uniforms in these other schools the social welfare helped out and the whole community was also involved.  I was proud to be part of that village which I called kumusha.  There was no electricity or running water, but there was food and money to sustain the livelihoods of the people. There was dignity in families and pride. The village and the schools are now almost a ghost place, 2 miles from the glitters of Kutama Village, your village Mr President.

The next time I met your again personally was in Maputo, Mozambique.  I was now working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Zimbabwe and was a diplomat at the Embassy.  You came for a meeting arranged by your counterpart President Chissano of Mozambique. You came twice to Maputo while I was serving as a diplomat there after the 1992 peace agreement between Frelimo and Renamo.  There was a lot of preparation for your state visits and a lot of people involved.  Yes everybody run around when you were come and everything was clearly monitored.  You stayed at the Mozambican state house in Maputo.  One thing I distinctly remember is that twice you came, we cooked Sadza, muruwo unedovi (green vegetable with peanut butter) and biltong for you.  We were told that this was your special favourite meal.  Although you had attended a state banquet in the evening, you still came back to the state house and had your traditional meal.  Yes, I had prepared that with the then Ambassador’s wife.  Yes nobody tested it before you ate.  You trusted and your team trusted it was cooked with all the good will.  The first night I met you, we all sat and joined in the meal although it was late.  After the meal you wanted a cup of coffee.  We offered you one of the small cups which were in the state house mainly used for expresso.  Yes you joked and giggled that these cups were too small and you have never understood them.  “Ma cup awa ndowokunyima chaizvo. Ma Portuguese aye nyima chaizvo”, (this cups are small they are not meant for giving whole heartedly.  The Portuguese people used to be known not to share” you said giggling. One of your ‘vakomana’ (security man as they are called) then opened your brief case and produced a mug, which you drank your beverage from.  Yes I saw that humanity in you as you spoke of nothing political but just general things asking about how work was and the family. Yet now all you do is ‘kunyima’ (not giving/sharing) your own fellow country people despite the wealth you have accumulated over the past 34 years as President.

Mr President, you might wonder why I am writing to you with this.  It is Christmas time and I just wanted to show you that you are as you human as it can be.  It is Christmas time and down the road near your village 2 miles away there are girls who are unable to afford small things like sanitary pads for their menstruation.  Down the road they are families who are unable to have a proper meal.  The land is dry and arid.  It cannot produce anything to feed the families. There are no taps to get water from and people have to walk miles. This has a decisive impact on how they view their future. Meanwhile just 2 miles away there is a lot of running water, irrigation and electricity. In your village there is also a good clinic to save your own people but not the rest of the Zvimba community. In your village there is a good primary school and yet at Madzima when it rains the children cannot study due to the deterioration of the buildings.  Two miles from your village mothers are not able to afford medication.  Fathers walk barely covered let alone wear underwear.  Yes it is a true state of how you have not only looked just in front of your noise in your own village but have left the whole country suffering.  There is death and despair and yet you blame it on others.  The old cliché charity begins at home, if you were unable to help your own neighbour, the village next door how can you possible know what is happening in the whole country?  You come every weekend and sometimes during the week to your village, but yet never take a stroll to see how your neighbours live. Before independence the whole communities of Zvimba were proud small scale farmers thriving through their produce. They held together and looked after each other. Is that what an honourable states man does? Bulawayo a town I also grew up is slow disintegrating. I travelled by school bus every day and only paid levy as school fees. Things were subsidised by the government.  There was decency in living as hospital functioned well and institutions were run properly. The economic and financial difficulties, in conjunction with poor management of public finances, contributed to the degradation of the already obsolete and decrepit infrastructure in the areas of transport, telecommunications, production, energy distribution, health, and education.

Mr President, in the essence of the spirit of Christmas just walk down to your neighbouring villages and please remember to take sanitary pads to give to the girls as a Christmas present (Love thy neighbour is one of the greatest 10 commandments in the bible). There is nothing as embarrassing for a girl or woman to not only suffer through menstruation but even worse to be unable to have a decent underwear and sanitary pad. For the spirit of Christmas, the people of Zimbabwe need just to have a decent meal, electricity to cook their meals and water to bath. Allow those little girls and boys to have a proper, decent education as they are our future. You had the privilege of a good education and just look at how that neighbouring school is depilated while your own community enjoys all the privilege. It is Christmas every time your let God love others through you. The work of Christmas begins if you find the lost, heal the broken, feed the hungry and rebuild the nation, bring peace among people and most of all love in their heart. You can change that societal discourse by recognising the fundamental principles, the community spirit of giving and helping for the sake of this Christmas only.

I hope you watch this video and understand the extent of how your girls and their parents have to suffer.’, ‘A Letter to Mr President Mugabe for Christmas

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NOT A ‘DESIGNER’ LABEL ILLNESS HIV/AIDS http://www.alimita.co.uk/not-a-designer-label-illness-hivaids/ http://www.alimita.co.uk/not-a-designer-label-illness-hivaids/#respond Fri, 16 Sep 2016 08:35:08 +0000 http://www.alimita.co.uk/?p=26 A few questions came up when I took part in the Walk for Life done by Terrence Higgins Trust – a charity that supports people living with HIV/AIDS in London. “Why are you taking part in the walk, do you have any sort of connections with what they do?” “Do you have any particular reason why you are raising funds for this charity or these people?” It was a good cause and Mahatma Gandhi said – Without action the world aren’t going anywhere, “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” If I was not going to do who else can do it and if everybody in the world thought to have ‘connections with what they did’ they will be less changes in the world except that “Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.”

HIV/AIDS is not a ‘designer’ illness like Cancer, Diabetics, MS, MND and other serious illnesses.In fact HIV is no longer a terminal illness like in the 80s/90s, it has a measurable sustenance of life through medication just like all the other illness. People do not go in the streets, family, and friends or work saying “I have HIV/AIDS” as it is not ‘cool enough’. There are less people who write, campaign and raise money for HIV/AIDS charities or organisation than there is for the other illnesses like Cancer, Diabetics etc. It is labelled different and its label does not fall into designer illness category, not even into Primark. Cancer is the mothers of all labels it is the Gucci or Dolce Gabbana of all designer and a lot of revenue comes through to research and fundraising. HIV/AIDS is not discussed in Starbuck or at Ritz hotel for afternoon tea like other illness are, it is exclusively something which has become a stigma even if you just volunteer or participate to help the cause. According to the World Health Organisation HIV/AIDS it affects every country in the world and in many infection rates are increasing rapidly. Today, an estimated 42 million people live with HIV/AIDS. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region of the world worst affected. Nearly three-quarters of persons living with HIV/AIDS are in sub-Saharan Africa. Of the 3.1 million people who died of HIV/AIDS in 2002, 2.4 million were in sub-Saharan Africa. The disease has already orphaned 12 million children in Africa and that number could grow to a staggering 40 million. Who is going to love and care for these children if people feel it is not my problem. It has drawn millions into its agonizing vortex. In Southern Africa every family has been affected directly or indirectly by a family member, friend or someone close with HIV/AIDS or who has died. This is a fact of the matter and it’s something which is indescribable in context. Friends and families die without even knowing about the diagnosis or talking about it. People have become imperceptible to the issue that they then end up not excepting that it does exist in their own door step, its ordinary and it’s not a designer label. All this is because of the stigma that the illness has, as it does not have a DESIGNER LABEL.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon says:

“Stigma remains the single most important barrier to public action. It is a main reason why too many people are afraid to see a doctor to determine whether they have the disease, or to seek treatment if so. It helps make AIDS the silent killer, because people fear the social disgrace of speaking about it, or taking easily available precautions. Stigma is a chief reason why the AIDS epidemic continues to devastate societies around the world.”

Most people become infected with HIV through sex, which often carries moral baggage; it is also thought to be the result of personal irresponsibility. Controversial or not we were all born through the consummation of sex (until recently) and it is a natural thing, which is God created and should be embraced mutually. HIV is associated further with behaviours such as homosexuality, drug addiction, prostitution or promiscuity – groups who are already stigmatised in societies. Going back to sex for argument sake, you can have a proper loving relationship with somebody who might have had a broken heart from a nice relationship with a person who was already infected without knowing. Does this make you are evil or you should be persecuted? It can be a lonely world out there, despite having an illness and everybody needs love, family and friends. The unmeasurable thing is where did the pandemic start from, as in Southern Africa needles were shared and not disposed like now? Is sex not a designer label or has it become controversial that it should be made into a sin because of HIV? What about those that got HIV though blood transfusion?

I have done the Race for Life to raise money for Cancer research and continue to donate for my friends who do it religiously every year. I have done the Walk for Life several times and even with my children and friends. It is a 10km across the greatest parts of Central London and you get to see the best views. I continuously raise money for asylum seekers/refugees through different forms of sponsorship. I donate to United Christian Broadcast religiously as they can be able to reach a lot of people spreading the word of God. I campaign about ‘Make Poverty History’. I probable want to “Make HIV/AIDS History”. I don’t think I want to be prestige but I feel very strongly about all these issues and I pray to God that one day miracles will happen for cure and less suffering to humanity.

There are approximately 35 000 black Africans living with HIV/AIDS in UK and 23% remain undiagnosed. There are approximately about 41 000 homosexual people living with HIV/AIDS in the UK. During my participation in the Walk for Life, I have only met a few black people being part of those raising money to support the cause. The last walk there was probable less than 10 black people among the hundreds that were there. The LGBT community came in great numbers and did their best in making everybody smile by dressing as villains and heroes. Sir Ian McKellen and Christopher Biggins are ‘designer labels’ and they took part in the Walk for Life. The greatest and most satisfying thing about the taking part was meeting such people who did not have to explain why they were taking part, but for the good cause despite them having a designer label as celebrities. I have met great people who campaign and take action to raise awareness of the pandemic who are not even from the high prevalent communities. They are ordinary people who are compassionate. One of my friends Manuela in Netherlands has taught me a lot about being compassionate and loving. She works tireless for the cause of people living with HIV/AIDS or marginalised communities. She is smart, intelligent, clever and probable a ‘designer label’ in all context. Through her friendship I have learnt that whatever I do might be insignificant at that time but it is important to continue doing it. Malcolm X said “If you are not careful ‘people’ and the newspapers will have you hating the people who are oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppression.”

I also gained a friend during the Walk as my partner Wayne and I met the most incredible person who has become a friend. I will call him the “Greek goddess”, he is openly gay and loving it. He is 54 years and incredibly happy, fun, fit and a strong character. We walked with him half the journey as he was alone and he told us amazing stories. We spent the next 3 hours after the walk having picnic and I personally learnt a lot about gay people. We have been to his house in London and he is kind, caring, loving, best cook and OMG very clean OCD type lol. He is probable ‘designer in his standard of living. He had no substantial reason for taking part. I have had to embrace a lot of dynamics happening with family members and friends about homosexuality and I have always felt comfortable with people’s sexuality. I believe the highest identity is our relationship with others since we do not exist in isolation. This is manifested by how we love every human being on earth as a creation of God. Our not caring – that is narcissism.

I end up with Marianne Williamson’s writing in her book “A Return to Love” (by the way she is designer, four New York #1 best sellers and recently campaigned as a Congress woman). She started the Project Angel Food for People living with HIV/AIDS without any substantial reason but to love. The many letters in her book goes like this:-

Dear AIDS virus,

Go to Hell. You took a shining star from my family. I miss him and loved him and I never told him. Why do you strike with such vengeance? I have the pain and agony you cause, but somehow you brought out the best in Leo and the best in his family.

INEZ

Dear Inez,

I didn”t bring out the worst or best. I just am. And how you live with me is up to each of you.

AIDS

She further states that HIV/AIDS and Cancer and any other serious illnesses are physical manifestations of a psychic scream, and their message is the same it’s not “HATE ME” but “LOVE ME.”

Don’t shy away from your extra-ordinariness help others to heal the world, forgo that manicure, Starbucks, haircut, designer label and donate just small change and your time to love, you can light somebody”s life.

God bless, peace and love

ALICE CHIGUMIRA

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40 DAYS OF PRAYING, LOVING, READING, WRITING http://www.alimita.co.uk/hello-world/ http://www.alimita.co.uk/hello-world/#comments Thu, 08 Sep 2016 22:54:41 +0000 http://www.alimita.co.uk/?p=1 40 DAYS OF PRAYING, LOVING, READING, WRITING AND EATING WITHOUT SOCIAL MEDIA

\r\nFamily and friends what does it mean and who are they?\r\n\r\nThis prompted me to give up the social media during Lent for 40 days to find out what this means and who are these groups of people through praying to God, loving, reading, writing and eating. I had asked this question for long time since I lost 7 members of my family and never seemed to get around to finding the basic things of what nature and nurturing this could mean.\r\n\r\nFamily? – affiliated by consanguinity or through marriage, nurture, kinship, genealogy and those that you love. When you have lost those that are affiliated to you by consanguinity, who are you left with apart from my 2 daughters? Through relationship, I have the one and only that I love as my partner. The kinship part leaves me perplexed as I spent 40 days without the orthodox social media and none of my kinship looked for me or contacted me through a proper phone call or even a physical attempt to visit.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nFriends? – a person you have a mutual affection, who knows you are retarded, who you laugh and cry with, the person who is there at the end of any social media or telephone call or physically available during the good and bad days. The person who has a personal regard for you and will contact you even if you have had a disagreement about things in life and will heal the wounds of life without administering any medication. This also perplexed me as I spent 40 days without the orthodox social media and I could count the number of friends that made an effort to phone me. To phone me to find out if I was alive or sick or some kind of life’s mishap had befallen me. One had to travel all the way from London with her daughter, the few others called and left messages (thank you so much those that did it, it made a difference). One thing for sure friendships can inspiring, revered and let alone influential. Despite, my life has been revered by some great long term friendships. Am I able to look wiser and give my daughters advise on friendship; friendship contains a group that is distinct and honourable in its own tradition. I have no prescription, but I know that it can break the heart with lots of tears, but tell them to look at their strengths and harmonize with the beat.\r\n\r\nMy mum had good friends and one best friend, this best friend until I was over 21 years I did not know that she was not my aunt by kinship.  I lived in her house sometimes, I played with her kids, she was there when my mum was going though the best and worst.  Her daughters were my sisters and we helped each other until today.  When my mum was ill and knew she was dying, my mum”s best friend was there collecting all the data relevant and in pursuit of their own ”rule of law” which was to stick together. They had shared memories which spanned for almost 40 years. I am still envious of that and learnt from my mum and her friend.  “…. if the mutual love of friends were to be removed from the world, there is no single house, no single state that would go on existing; even agriculture would cease to be.” – Cicero (106-43 B.C)\r\n\r\nWhat I found in those 40 days reflecting on my life is that I had been everybody’s friend, only a few were legit and others were in limbo. I had my energised my life searching, loving and giving the energy to that that I call friendship and family just to fill the void of having lost 7 members of my family within 12 years. I was what other friends and family would call the organiser, the doer and the one who looked after everybody else but had very little people looking after me. I am the one in my family/friends who makes the effort to physically visit people at their homes. With those that I called family I would remember the birthdays, the arm of reaching out and helping financially, moral, love etc. I became “my mother” and have since paid a big price with that. I am not perfect as a family member or as a friend but I still have the desire to save. I am not done yet and the experience itself is an opportunity to assuage my growth and I know the towering God is conscious in me.  With my so called family what I now know is the meaning of family. This is your sister or brother born of same mother or father. I was not in anywhere part of that big family that I had created all my life. I wanted to be, so I did things to be accepted in the “family” and hence felt loved. I was becoming my mother because I had learnt a lot from her loving others. I wanted to fill that void of having lost my family, my 4 brothers and looked for it in other people’s families and called them my “family.” When I fell ill 7 years ago, I found the family which God created for me, home away from home. Those I could understand the pain without judging me but praying with me. At home my hands are full when my eldest daughter can sit down with me and question religion as the cause of all evil but still believes in the Almighty.  My youngest still wondering which church will fulfil her teenage quench for the word of God. My partner now into Joel Osteen buying his books and leveraging the quotes with his own personal life.  The dog wondering why there is so much love to him from everybody. At work, finally it opened up the story of every person you see walking in the street; never take life for granted because the mind is a powerful tool, infused together with the past it can lead to an atomic bomb waiting to explode.\r\n\r\nI asked myself that if their own sister or brother would have stayed for 40 days missing on the radar, would they have just sat back and not knocked on their door. The bible opened the doors to my questions, the books that I so much missed when I was academically studying opened the windows, the listening to my feelings and standing still helped me to reflect. The gym gave me the energy to exhale. The food and different recipes I tried gave me the feel good nature and it nurtured me. The days when I spent with my children and my partner showed me the bigger picture of love and being loved. I had the family right with me, I had the friends’ right with me, and I had a wholesome family and did not need to look any further. I had God, the Almighty who loved me unconditionally, who had given me another life and had given me not once but twice a chance to live and love again. I am simply not in the same league.  I realised my personal notoriety is forgiveness and to be forgiven, not to let things drag me into being incapacitated.  I am still that journey who is at peace with my past.\r\n\r\nThe agenda for self-cultivation had been set by my parents, something I appreciate as a good quality, the quality of mercy: “It blesseth him that gives and him that takes” This might sound naively idealistic, but there is a place for idealism in my life and I intend to see this through as I enter through another phase of my life with self-awareness. I have a dream and I intend to live the journey of achieving that dream with passionate conviction. I will break the challenges down into smaller challenges, which I could get on with in my methodical fashion. Life is an experience in growth. To all those who have always given that love and support thank you.   Somebody I knew for a short time during a project for women identified this quote as a pinnacle of who I am “We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us… it is not just in some of us. It is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same – Marianne Williamson.\r\n\r\nI have learnt that things may have happened to me but the only things that really count are the things that happen in you.  We can”t control what happens to us.  But we can control what we think about what happens and what we are thinking is our life at any particular moment. Thus in a crisis be pre-prayered. God will not fail anyone because in all of us there is the power of goodness and the evil that might come through selfishness, pride ego, jealous, resentfulness, hating and the worst in our humanity is the concealment of the good that is within us.\r\n\r\nI am enjoying being with Amnesty International again and the political campaign which I will fill you up next on the blog Face of Change – Alinyana2Alice.  Love, Peace and God bless.\nALICE CHIGUMIRA

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Keynote Speech At Open University Charter Day Celebrations http://www.alimita.co.uk/keynote-speech-at-open-university-charter-day-celebrations/ http://www.alimita.co.uk/keynote-speech-at-open-university-charter-day-celebrations/#respond Sat, 30 Jul 2016 17:02:06 +0000 http://www.alimita.co.uk/?p=88 ]]>

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The Transforming Power Of Education (Alice Chagumira) Open University http://www.alimita.co.uk/transforming-power-of-education/ http://www.alimita.co.uk/transforming-power-of-education/#respond Sat, 30 Jul 2016 16:40:50 +0000 http://www.alimita.co.uk/?p=79 ]]>

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