The Zimbabwean nurse.
By Akhona Ndlovu
It was an amid day filled with bliss that explained pride in destiny! Scared to fall into a debt of feelings that seemingly would dismally fail me in the near future,optimistically I hung on to the only hope that the uncertainty of tomorrow possibly held fair chances for everyone ,which skeptically meant fate in the eyes of some and of course a life changing experience I had to ever expect.
Like any other lass, flying abroad and starting a new life there was a ricochet of wishes in my ear-drums and ghostly awakened the youthful sleeping beauty in me. I and Rudo had had the good opportunity to find ourselves in one of the first world countries with the most excelling economies , of course to be specific of what mostly dreaded us in our countries - were our economies. Being from a very traditional background our personalities were embroidered with fierce culture that even modernization took fervent strides to assimilate in us that we could be best and not better, that we could be ourselves as individuals and not others. It all was bracketed in stereotypical cages of what defined us. Well did the world even care? The argument was, why not a fusion than a total makeover? A shade of grey wasn't bad at all.
Like conflict, inevitable change took a toll on our beautiful sculptures that it withered away our norms and left dangling a few values on life support. Who would have thought that phases of colonisation would dorn us long decent fabrics against our ancient revealing traditional leather fits, and later shovered us in rethought that mini-skirts, bumshorts, groove-outs, and see-throughs were still an acceptable self public presentation in the name of human rights and modernization. It all made sense at different stipulated times to fit the then current situation. I wouldn't have bothered not walking down the streets in short pants, but my background totally denied me that freedom of choice. "It was acceptable for a certain type of persons and not me," I would be reminded. However at the end of the day it was not about me, sometimes neither my community, and at times the colonizer.
I try so hard to think why the oppressor was so cruel to take us through that turmoil roller coaster of deranged beliefs. Yet today we stand in lamentations of independence and freedom controversial to our lifestyles and ancient beliefs. Beliefs about what to dorn and to condorn, socialism or capitalism, religion, tradition or modernisation. All that in the plate of poor Africa. I would not have minded the legend of sovereignty leading us till his last breath, but only the mind-blogging thoughts of Gukurahundi emersed me into severe paranoia of what if history repeatedly repeated itself - and my people of the Matabele kingdom would still be the most vulnerable. I am also in shock of how I mix it all up! Who was the colonizer? White imperialism - my history told me, but to date I still sing the oppression songs like our parents yesterday. Colonialism was and is not about race I have assimilated. A fellow ethnic buddy can colonize you way worse than any. Then I sat to think about my President Robert Mugabe and all he tried to achieve to our freedom, which later reverted itself to black disempowerment. Well it was a good exercise later carried out with personal agendas of power hunger, and it all lost its essence. The whole concept of modernization brought fearsome changes. Modernisation to me was simply the tick tocking of time. No - not colonization by the white britons. Even before their arrival there were rivals amongst tribes of our motherland. People with time noticed their differences, they even noted other different physical traits apart from those of tribes. Then to me all that in history was a sign of the results of time developments, yesterday being different from today.
Then the Britons came. Skilled enough in public relations and colonialism to sweep-of even the strongest groups of tribes like the Rozvi , Matabele, Enhla and the Hole. The way they got Lobengula to sell his chieftaincy, royalty in exchange of sugar was totally bizarre.
It was better though because Robert Mugabe was a born leader - I assume. I laugh often when I find myself freely vilifying about the late, and remember how I had done that a lot in the previous years of his reign and quickly destroyed those manuscripts. He had one thing he tattooed on us that he himself never wanted to possess - fear. He might have been taken through a path of shame in his last days by his foremates but his best qualities can never be disputed on the wall of fame. He was a man of his word, and he stood by it - and Sovereignty was his word, but what was sovereignty without its pride and benefits. Even a good sun pocketed in the nimbostratus without its light ain't "good" at all. What is the moon without its night lighting? Or what is the moon in broad daylight? The only time I appreciated the moon in broad daylight was when I experienced the darkest hour of the day in 2002 December 4, in Beitbridge, my home town. Well , lost focus is what killed the glow of sovereignty.
Having had eventful lives, drama wasn't defying an explanation towards our lifestyles. I and Noku pegged personality as the truth of being oneself without effort, going through plenty of life 's exposures, perplexed experiences, and having had to decide what one really wanted without fear or pressure of the orthodoxies surrounding them.
Through experience we learnt and assimilated the does and don'ts tailored for us by this discourse. We became more of supernatural beings than physical epitomes through beliefs. We figured out ourselves without malice or repugnance towards failure or antagonists, but we rewrote our history and made sure each new rising sun wasn't a theory based on evolvement of earth planet around the orbit only, but a fresh new creation of light on a daily basis.It was a rebirth to gloom hidden in the twine wires of copper.
. I remember one winter day as the sun had rushed to sleep, and we were on our way rushing home on the 7th street of Gweru that we lost track of the smaller, quicker omnibuses in town and had to rush to catch the old ZUPCO government buses as our last resort. As we rushed past the development house to catch the buses early before they were crowded, a man tall in height, slim in a dark grey suit picked up a pace with us. He was rushing to catch up with us I guess, and we pretended not to notice him as we nudged each other, silently laughing as he almost tripled on a pavement stone, but he did not stop lamenting in a loud whisper " Hey beauties, can I talk to you please!. "He stopped pacing up and called out, " I understand you are in a rush I can take you wherever you are rushing to!"
We stared at him with disbelief, "Sir we are going far." Him with a glim on his face, "And who said I can't take you that far?" We all burst into laughter. Something so comic about him. He looked so genuine and his eyes spoke in congruent to his lips, and so we just believed him, and decided we could take his offer.
Like usually, we thought it was one of those scenarios that fell prey to our theories of opportunities. However we learnt through due course that, some and most in our modern times were roses with thorns, that were only accepted with peculiar instances and caution, that they were only good for scenery crowning and not embedding us.
Mr Maraire was a different man altogether. Though his age, dresscode, looks and personality nuance disagreed, he was attractive. "I am Mr Maraire, Tinashe and I work for the Small and medium enterprises Company limited by the Post office building." He lifted his left arm to wipe out sweat from his forehead and As he did so his right hand lay relaxed on the driving wheel with a black leather cover and a Shining sharp Y label at the center. There was some silence for a moment, i guess we both were awaiting him to question us so we could take up the conversation.
We were both wondering how such an elegant young lad had stopped just for us, and Noku kept nudging, with her eyes gossiping silently about all the things in the lad's car.
Everything in his car was neatly positioned. Every dashboard draw was tightly closed, surface well glittering as it reflected back the lining lights of the interior. The floor mats welly woven and the scent of the Air Spencer taped onto the dashboard fumed the whole interior into a cosy rose fragrance. Nothing there could be despised.
He looked so uneasy as if hesitant to start a conversation, then finally he broke out "Ok Can I know you?" He got brave enough to ask as he stretched to the back where we were seated. We looked at each other and replied "Am Noku" "And am Thando" There was queer silence there after that suggested uncertainty. He redirected his rearview mirror and positioned it in a way that his glance from my angle could be seen. Well, I just realised it was me he was speaking to all along. Shying away from his glance I thrust my eyes on the floor, playing with my phone on my lap. Noku was immensely busy with studying the surroundings but her looks told she was kind of impressed with whatever she was seeing. Though they were moments of puzzles drawn on her face, generally she looked satisfied.
Fortunately having found someone to take us home swiftly and early like that, was a grateful moment for the two of us, of-course for an opulent ride. The smile on his face told of the honour he felt. His gentleness swept a woman off her feet, and nothing about him was disappointing, not even his expensive Avroy-Shlain Endangered scent. His plain white long sleeved formal shirt and khaki pants that blended with his gold-striped tie giving him a more mature look. He looked way different from those young city boys who owned altezzas and felt like epicenters of maturity and life achievement goals. They would pimp them, play very loud zim-dancehall music from their subwoofers and often found pride in hovering their insane loud double exhausts. They honestly believed they had made it in life and of course I thought it was otherwise.
We climbed off from his beautiful ride with gratitude, quickening to enter the gate. As we took off he hooted, unlike him with his good looks to be so loud, and because we didn't want the embarrassment of everyone checking out in our ghetto suburb, Noku quickly rushed back to him. He hooted again and neighbors across the road were already peeping through the window to check on their hood.
"You, please don't be so loud! You are embarrassing us I beg!" Noku warned him. "Well you should have been grateful enough to give me a functional number girls!." His forlorn face besieged by love gave a subtle nuance. "Try it again, it works!" I laughed scornfully. "The person I called answered the phone and none of you I saw, answered hers here. I know you might have even lied about your names but at least give me a correct phone number and try me." The calmness and beatitude nudged the scorn out of the moment. "Ok whose number exactly do you want?" She had all her hands on her waist. "Hers, if you don't mind, " he was looking and pointing at me as I stood by the gate. Dropping down his striped tie from his plain shirt he drove off and we remained in stitches.
It was in those winter days again that Noku found love in the eyes of a servant of God. She had gone for her first confession after her breakup with Kuziva and had a lot of dirty laundry she decided wanted confession. It worked on well as she continually visited Sr Marie Getrude for counseling sessions. I waited outside the call room daily during her counseling sessions hoping one single day will get her stop the dramatic loss of her body weight.
Sarcastically one noon I laughed with her, " I think we should repeat the HIV tests because these counseling sessions ain't giving us a positive outcome at all. She giggled with an empty laugh and said, " Sr Marie is saying i need another counselor." I kept laughing to lighten the moment but the pain in her seemed to be floating.
She had dated a guy who from the eastern lowlands of Masvingo, after 2 years of intimate dating and marriage promises had decided to take up an arranged marriage at his Chatikobo rural home without notice to her. He broke up with her the Thursday before the same Saturday he married.
As we took up the immigration process to the United kingdom she went through every step of it with fear of leaving her boyfriend behind. I remember when we were on our way to write our Computer based test. She spoke sorrowfully about the feeling of leaving Kuziva behind. The issue was Kuziva kept saying he was ready to marry but felt threatened by the number, type and presence of male friends in Noku's life.
That noon after the exam we went to the British Council of Zimbabwe and enquired about applying for a spouse visa. Kuziva was not yet a spouse, I would knock the sense into her. He was just a boyfriend whom I also never understood his intentions.
Pushing and pushing for a positive outcome Noku consulted our recruitment agency to help her amend her relocation arrangements because she wanted to take her boyfriend with her. Poor Noku, she was building castles in the air. All those efforts were put to halt on that Thursday summer when hell broke loose and Kuziva told it to her face 'he was going to marry someone else soon, a couple of days later, a girl from his village, who knew and understood the norms and values of his people!' compared to her, a spoilt culturally lost Ndebele lass, as he disguisedly bragged.
It wasn't pretty at all. It crushed the whole bunch of her being into a crumpled piece of paper thrown into the dustbin. Now she was close to being diagnosed with depression. "If he was dead , it would hurt less Thando, this is too much for me!" Those are the words my poor heartbroken friend kept repeating.No wonder Romeo died for Juliet. It was very sad indeed! And trying to put a smile on her face was like performing CPR on a lifeless body.However brought to existence was the old saying 'time heals', so did it and the prognosis was a little good. A little because it took a little long for her to get back to herself if ever she did.
After the counseling sessions a few weeks with the new counselor, I noticed a great change. I saw Noku unfold from stupor like a crumpled gloss paper ironing out its creases. Slowly she was coming back to life. She had begun to grow appetite for everything she had lost to before: food, dressing, work, socialising, drinks and many more.
I recall the first day post depression when we were seated on a stool by the home garden , how she turned a joke, the pain she felt the day she learnt Kuziva had married another woman in short notice.
I will never forget the Thursday, because it was hard seeing a strong woman who laughed almost every problem away, even the vast ones, crush. No one even at work put a mind to seeing deep into her illness, as long as she was still able to walk, she had to report for duty, conduct it normally and competently. "Africans never get depressed" it was ofyen the thought that was assimilated to every growing being in our society. We only stopped growing after retirement, because growing meant learning, so we were meant to learn till senile, then retardation meaning growing backwards at an elderly age.
She had gone to the staff clinic and got treated for a headache and fatigue because that was the most possible reasonable diagnosis that would guarantee her bed rest at home. Nothing more to see a psychiatrist or a psychologist or at least an occupational health practitioner for her illness. It was normal in that setup to scorn such situations amongst ourselves. The matron always alluded that everyone had problems at home, so no one was to carry them to work, and one had to learn dealing with their social issues. Well those statements were too but controversial too. Guess it was a concept meant to try and curb absenteeism and munchausen syndrome in employees.
Such concepts materialised into rules, later passed compulsory and very stringent not to allow a mouse off the hook. In 2018 there was a mass job action against meagre wages and non conducive work environments in the health sector. There was a mother workers' union party that had long erupted in Harare, the capital city, called ZINA, the Zimbabwe Nurses Association that had served well the interests of the professionals but somehow every emerging party in my country whether a union or any other but with influence to the government always fell prey to political rancor.
They had organised perfectly a well magnified strike across the nation. Where almost every nurse tooled down to express the pathetic situation they were in. They could not afford to clothe themselves, feed their families, take their children to school nor did they afford daily transport to work against the fluctuating inflation rates of the bond note. Everyone was up for it because it was factually affecting all across the nation.
It just took a single media statement in a state address from the vice President, ex army commander General to fire all the nurses across the country who were on the job action and approximately eighty percent of them were affected. It was irrational to do so when the state was long before in a crisis of serious staff shortage and to abruptly take that decision was insane. Braindrain was already sweeping up the coffers of the industry and it only took abstract leaders to notice and act appropriately. So they decided to hire the latest nurses, fresh from tertiary institutions, those who left government for many other reasons including legal ones, and also the retired ones who were exhausted staying home and tired of the pension peanuts too. And because all were desperate emanating from the economic crisis, they flocked in hospital doors for dear life. Though they did, they only constituted a percentage of the crisis that already existed before even the job action crisis.
Poor fellows out of desperation never put a thought into how they were wearing into the same rugs of poverty. Albeit half a loaf was better than nothing but as G.K Chesterton in his essay What's Wrong with the World once alluded, "Compromise used to mean that half a loaf is better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf is better than a whole loaf."
We watched them gleefully take up their positions as we waited outside the administration blocks for our re-application forms which we were not even sure if we were getting or not, because remember some were to become lessons to others, yet some were just going to be adversely crucified for their previous sins. It was a very vindictive and personalized moment filled with grief and tension. I guess each and everyone of us thought in retrospect of the families we had left back home, some parents in the remote areas of the stoney houses, some children, some siblings and many more of our relatives who were in need of our financial support. Some cried sorrowfully, while some fought delusional battles with imaginary traducers as they sat along the hedges of the front office flowers. The only time we laughed is when someone made a scornful joke about the new recruits as she named them the Guveyaz after the master who had unfairly fired us.
On the other hand there was an emerging seemingly powerful union ZPNU which uprooted from our beautiful city of gold, led by young arrogant, diligent, powerful intellectuals from the Provincial hospital. I hate to admit to date that the initiative was good and excellent execution of beginnings as proven but, the creed and greed of power having taken a roller coaster toll on ZINA had overspilling effects on ZPNU.
Having had the opportunity to be part of the pioneering ideas and experience the birth of ZPNU i was besieged with great joy to note, amongst us were such kind of aspiring young women and men, who were so determined to magnify a denigrated profession and set things right. I had the privilege to be handed over one of the first membership forms but aversely chose not to , for a reason best known to my instincts. I was never a coattails rider anyway, so taking my time into study of offers and unfoldings was a fond instinct in me. That by having won me out of my cynical being, surely were guaranteed of my loyalty till the end.
Even though colleagues were later required to re-apply for the same positions they had been fired for, some institutions continued to politicise and vindictively victimise employees. Lessons of victimization and docitility were all left.
I enjoyed the company of my work acquaintance Tobias whose knowledge induced sloth saw him often loafing around the hospital premises 'seeking wifi' to accomplish his Masters degree in occupational health. He often scornfully laughed about how intelligent people like us were nose-dragged like village oxen by our 'imbecile' leaders, whom he claimed were mere docile puppets of poor political regimes with no initiatives at all on change.
I liked his story about his obstinate determination to pursue a career in nursing in the same institution that had initially appointed him as a janitor. How he ended up winning himself a scholarship at the University of Zambia under block release. For once I felt an awakening in a field that I thought was a sleeping mountain of shiftless individuals. In all ridicule about us, we relentlessly rejected the "doctor's maids' ' label which one day almost saw us seated by the red sofas at the superintendent's office.
I recall that one winter morning in the Female Medical Ward when we were seated in the duty room receiving a report from the night staff about the night occurrences and continued care of our patients, when a small hostile voice from the ward roared into the corridors. " Hey! Call all the nurses here!" It was our ward Physician, a lean, dark-skinned short lady in her mid thirties, whose appearance sometimes stood controversial to her status. She would sometimes report for work with a black track bottom, a flocal red-yellow-blue blouse, pink sandals and a brown sling bag. Of course confidently comfortable in them.
She was generally an authoritative woman who liked playing blame games often if not always when she came for rounds. That morning the patient's relatives were seated outside the ward adjacent to the duty room awaiting her for consultation about their ill relatives's conditions, treatment and progress. I guess those seated by the waiting bench who didn't know her were wondering "who this woman was?" Well she was a female doctor who had fruitfully advanced her education into being a physician but had temper issues that needed a PHQ-9 , on a lighter note.
Quickly we were rushed into the ward to see the calamity that had befallen us. Alas it was just a misdemeanor of oxygen prongs that had fallen from the patient's nose as she was fidgeting. "Is this how you administer oxygen?! Is it?" Unbelievable! Everyone was staring at her in disbelief. Who on earth could not notice it was just a mere mishap , which maybe happened the minute she entered the ward. Because we were groomed into docile people, the rest of the nurses stood to stare as she shouted about the meanness of the act and how she never wanted to see it again. Well she was right, it was unacceptable but the congruency. Silently we returned to the duty room but everyone was drained, wordless to what had just transpired. Quickly the other night nurse who was still in charge for the patients' care till handover-takeover time rushed to the scene.
Returning back to the ward, the everyday vibe of work in smiles had vanished and there was thin silence in the air. People initiated their daily duties as per nurse patient ratio 1:6, meaning a pair of nurses nursed twelve patients. That was only on good days as the number tripled or doubled in normal days. That day even Toby who liked switching on the television and greeting patients with jokes and laughter stood still by the nurse's station without a word.
The physician continued her round with the nurse in charge as she picked up on faults, omissions and other systematic errors. She called upon every nurse whose patient an error had been identified and continued to jabber sarcastically on how we were a bunch of torpid nurses. She arrived at a patient on bed four and asked, "Are you doing turnings on this patient?" She perused through the charts, guessing she met the updated turn chart then she repeated as she looked out to everyone. " is she being turned two hourly? Am asking all of you, especially those who have been on duty lately! Well everyone was busy with their patients doing bed baths and bed-making but gave her a moment. "Sr Chikono is the patient being turned two hourly?" She quietly shook her head "I am not sure Chiremba'' She went on to ask us one by one as people respectfully went silent then she said " Sr Ndlovu! Are you telling me that you all don't know whether the turns are being actually done or people are just updating the turn charts?"
"That's not my duty ma'am, I don't know!" I replied. Because surely in nursing anything done and not documented was as good as not done. So if something was documented to me it was done because our ethics engraved that in us, that wrongly testifying through pen and paper was a bad moral jabor and rather a serious offence to do so and besides most of us were far from that thinking. And anyway was the patient developing pressure sores to qualify and validate that question? Maybe we would cheat at times and turn the patient 3 hourly hourly depending on a patient's condition and who was nursing the patient but definitely did it carefully to still attain the positive outcome.It was undeniable that amongst us were a few rotten who never bothered but took chances of a bad outcome with the rotations in nursing our patients such faults were easily picked and corrected.
She turned quickly and walked towards the door rattled by my words ``Everyone please come to the duty room, right now!" We all rushed to her direction with fear bundled in our chests, novice then to such kind of work conflict. We all gathered in the small stuffy room uncertain of the outcome as we slowly removed our gloves one by one throwing them into the nearby clinical waste bin. She sat on the armed chair and leaned to the table as we remained standing awaiting her to begin. She continued to reposition herself aggitately as if not sure how to start. "The issue of people being rude to me is totally unacceptable!" She began. For a while she went silent and then called for the Sister In Charge. "I am disappointed with the kind of treatment I am getting from your staff." She continued Guess she wasn't sure on how to put up her complaints, she went on to softly say "Ok ! Or maybe let me do it this way. Is there anyone who has issues with the way I handle them or situations in this ward?" That question came from a genuine face that was purely lost in chagrin.
Everyone still kept silent. It initially felt like a trap that got eased by her persuasive chants to her questions. Sr Ranganai was the first to be given a chance to speak. "Personally I don't have much to say, but I was requesting you to please talk to us nicely when you are addressing us." That's all she had to say. Dr Chikasha sat there nodding "thank you's" to people as they spoke. Everyone was trying at all cost to present themselves politely even the most mind blowing thoughts in a sincere way.
Toby began. "You handle us in a very bad manner Dr Chikasha." He was clearing his already vividly audible voice. "Do I treat you that bad in the manner you people are really expressing?" She asked. "Yes! Thank you for taking the initiative to settle this dispute." As if he was acknowledging in closing remarks yet he meant to make them opening remarks. "Your words are full of detastation, but what exactly wrong have we done? Don't we deserve to be treated like grown ups or you seem to undermine us to an extent that you sometimes speak to us in abhorrence? We are human and we are demanding our respect back ma'am!" Everyone was nodding, some in mumbles, panging their "yeses.
"And another thing. You should stop your canards!" He exclaimed. Now no one could get what he was saying. Anger usually baked out of his mouth bundles of flabbergasting English words, that mostly were jabbered by his statement of learned individuals. "Am talking about your malice gossip doc." He would proudly explain as if he had done it unintentionally. " Gossip? Who?" Before he replied she had silenced him saying everyone was to get a chance, and she would get back to him soon.
I contoured in partisanship of my acquaintance. " Surely if one can see a spec in someone else's eye and fail to see a log in theirs I don't know how we could begin the problem solving process. The first thing is insight then we can continue." "What is your problem with me?" She demanded. " The issue is not you but your conduct! We need a rational conduct from you, and as you can see we are always open to learning and correction but if you kill the passion in us , you are also killing your progress."
She tried so hard to swallow the conversation with a grim on her face, and went back to Toby. "You can proceed. What were you saying? Have I ever gossiped about you? And what for?"
"What for Doc? Did you just ask that? I am so cross with your actions! What does the problem solving process imply? If you have a problem with us initially you should confront us or inform us through the rightful protocol we know of our wrongdoing. But what did you do? A week ago you went to the medical superintendent's office and placed a complaint that my combination with Sr Ndlovu was truly unbearable, but what wrong did we do? The matron asked you what we had done wrong and you failed to mention and just lamented on what you desired. That we be separated. Am I wrong? What do you have to answer for yourself?" We hadn't seen that coming. Tension was flaming and even the perpetrator was caught in shame for a moment. "Ooh for that one cause I remember. I am sorry about that but there were truly things that were amiss at that particular time, I dont still remember what." We got embarrassed for her. She was quick to dismiss the meeting and mutually acknowledged every input of the meeting and left.
Later in the noon hours of the day she bought lunch for the ward adjacent to ours asserting that they were the best ward she had ever worked with, that they never complained and were so obedient. We laughed out loud knowing that that gesture was meant to intimidate us. What had transpired earlier in that morning surely had an impact and the most important part was the message was heard. Toby later wrote an article about it in a blog to sensitise the community about workplace bullying especially on nurses as they were the punching bag of all other disciplines in the hospital setup.
Toby and I sat down often to discuss the new union, we shared ideas, fears, and experiences in general. He was the pioneer of ZPNU, the talk of the moment. My worry arose when I heard of their individual aspirations that were floated by the enthusiasm of the progress of the new project. You know it was easy for zeal to derail them off their initial objectives and goals as their seasoned minds hesitated coming to play.
They brought up beautiful issues of concern like victimisation, code of conduct , anti corruption and were on track. As a competitor they were expected to out smart the already existing union and not just retaliate for the sake of opposition, I would always tell them. They began to get into the political rancor from local ruling party individuals that partitioned them and disentangled them from their objectives. They could have done better. They could have done better campaigns of liberating the minds of fellow colleagues with knowledge and skills through circulating memos. They could have fought against corruption from the hierarchy by keeping it silent from everyone else till victory was certain than counting their chickens before they hatched. Still I applauded them for taking up the challenge against the old dogs that only barked with fallen teeth.
It spurned to learn of contagiously sick individuals that viciously spread their shiftlessness to everyone, how they went through dynamic work experiences and naively ignored them because they lacked the innovation. There were scenarios where a colleague would come across a diabetic(acidosis) patient in the ward in our resourceless hospitals with consecutive high glucometer readings, and chose to just sit because 'the hospital did not have saline, the patient could not afford to buy neither, and what was she supposed to do?' Not even a worry loomed on their faces. At least the first measure was great concern. Only to learn, passion long abruptly left them, let alone empathy.
How about thinking deep on alternatives? How about weighing options? Was even Lactate better or worse in trying to alleviate the situation? Perhaps the junior doctor called also didn't have an idea of what next with such chronic problems and a very inquisitive nurse of course, most probably would answer back on the phone "Sister my orders were clear, I said Normal saline!" And they would drop off. Or could they break the rules and use their phones for once to ask uncle Google and later maybe call and discuss findings with a meticulous doctor on how they could stop that slow rampaging of the patient's body systems by those high glucose levels.
Because it was in my country, almost everything including the essential services like treatment in hospitals were meagre and substandard. I would be so wrong to entirely blame ourselves for the poor prognosis, but at the same time would be so wrong if I didn't make us feel liable for it either.
If surely research conducted with topics like "Fluid management in diabetic-acidosis- Ringers lactate versus normal saline." It means in times of strandedness Ringers Lactate guaranteed a better outcome than none!
And if surely ethics still existed in us, we could have been able to answer such questions diligently and confidently, but experience had just become a passage of time without introspection of the yields in our fields. It was now just an empty clock caucus that awaited the little earnings.
It reminded me of some other time when i used ringers lactate and a certain self applauding physician came and denounced the efforts. Funny enough she didn't bother nor care to understand why we had made that choice alternatively. Anything denounced like that was quick to be shamefully aborted. Ignore the way we were treated, the law was The Patient is always right and the norm was The Doctor is always right. Therefore it was the patient first then the norm.
There were mind blogging sites, where a colleague would enter the ward and stretch for another six hours without noticing there was, let alone a turn chart close to a debilitated patient that needed to be updated, because surely i cant talk of the obvious site prodding thought for turnings!
We had almost all the reasons for not performing up to standard, but having been born in Zimbabwe, excellence never withered in our institutions. We strived through the most unfavourable times which comprised half of, if not a better part of our lives. Especially our fraternity , we were the Adansonias of our times.
As big as it is, it shrinks during drought times and expands with better seasons. Like the digitata we learnt to adapt to every situation remembering in us that, results just had to be produced. Good results! It did not matter the circumstances, a positive outcome had to be yielded. The Mugabe regime as so criticised was not the worst at all. Only that expectations were so high and the demand curve hardly conformed to supply.
Nurses went hungry at work. They started their days with patient's morning porridge, then later fed with sadza cabbage, beans or meat(on rare occasions) meant for the sick, at hospitals that never catered full the employees. In Fact in 90% of the hospitals in my country no employee was allowed to be seen eating from the hospital dishes. In Kwekwe we used to call it hospital number. So each time when you needed rescue from the hospital dishes we would call out to the janitor, remember we never had hostesses, "hospital number please!" and he or she would serve aside for us so we could devour in eclipse.
It was quite an experience to seemingly beg for food from the same government that poorly remunerated you and still taxed you, yet failed just to feed you. At some point we survived through the few dollars that the western donors intermittently graced us with. At times we would hear rumors that some of the donations had diverted routes to more important state missions, and without proof who would you ask? And even with- who would you confront?
Living in Zimbabwe was to be included in our curriculum vitae if it happened that we hunted for jobs elsewhere, because it alone was an experience and a half - my thinking.
Growing up I never understood why my parents were sometimes debtors at the schools I attended, with the high positions they possessed in the education sector. It was according to mutual understanding that the schools never sent me back home for failure to pay school fees because those two folks really tried their best to deliver. They would remain without any food and go an extra mile so they could send us to renowned institutions and faithfully pay their debts in time, because they understood and valued the essence of tailor crafting their own. I guess the beautiful grades that we brought home always spurred them more strength to go hungry for the rightful reasons.
I besiege with delight when I look at the old man who raised me. The youngest long service awarded councillor of the small town I was born in. A very intelligent man from the deep roots of Filabusi, in Insiza district, who rolled out his slumber into real dreams. Though he still felt he would have done more I often reminded him that some dreams were meant to be fulfilled by us, their descendants, and I assured him I was up to make him the happiest father in the universe. These kinds of promises always sounded like flattering in the ears of the decoder, but the real truth behind them was that they were from genuine hearts.
His better half, a very strong, diligent, submissive, religious and bright lady who at all costs sacrificed everything for the sake of family. They were both educators and similarly valued education in our lives despite gender as was in their times. I remember this noon, a day before the opening of schools, when I found them seated together under the big Jacaranda tree at our home. I knelt and greeted them, then set aside fully flexed to humble myself before my plea. They both starred in laughter as they knew the strategy of asking for favours, but this time it was different.
It was one of those silly pleas but impregnated with turmoil. "Daddy can mama accompany me to school tomorrow?" Confidently he was quick to reply "Oh don't worry I have sorted that out my daughter! I have spoken to Mulaudzi so they can squeeze you in in their car." Fretfully I looked down and he was surprised. His question came with concern "You have been traveling with them, are you not happy with it?" So worried mom paraphrased the question, "You don't want to go with them?" "Yes' 'I replied. "Why?" my disappointed father asked. "I feel like I will be disturbing them, because they usually want to stop at Gwanda and do their shoppings and eat lunch. So most times I am left in the car alone and doors locked for long." This nudged the emotions in me and I began to cry. I could see my mother's face tear apart. She then asked a sixth grade pupil who was not fond of her, " So what do you want us to do? '' Because you know we don't have a car now." "Mama, me and you could board lifts to school and you could leave me at Esigodini so i can catch the school bus to school if possible."
I could tell that wasn't any of my mom's favourite moments at all. She looked weary with worry.``And the luggage?" Before I could answer that question she proceeded "Remember we do not have money that is why we ask Paul's father to take you to your school." She began to reason with me, "Now we will need transport money for me, to and fro, and your transport too. Wasn't it better if we saved that little and gave you pocket money and the remainder for my coming on visiting day?" My father was nodding beside her.
"No mama it is better you just take me to school and not give me pocket money." This statement tore the big guy and I heard him instantly say, "It's ok, its ok my child! I will inform them you are no longer going with them. Let me and your mother see what we can do.But be merry this time i have paid all your school fees, you won't have to be called amongst the debtors." It put a smile on my face because that moment of announcement of debtors had also grown to be one of my worst fears.
My school was an elite school that had children from elite families and some from abroad. Most children who learnt there were kids of politicians, businessmen 5and other big guys. I hated going to school with my friend's family because I disliked detention, feeling outcast especially when they bought their fries and I had to shy away from my packed brunch, to save myself from embarrassment. I could pretend to be watching outside, or to be busy with a book till I saw windows open then I would sigh relief
I was so happy to have my mum take me to school that following day, though the only thing she could afford to buy me were a few bananas from the Mbalabala hawkers. We were so happy travelling together in that omnibus and I wished for nothing more than another trip like that again.
I understood however the agony that people went through daily, like the born human immuno virus-exposed child, who daily hectorily swallowed the antivirals with no satisfactory answers to his dreading questions? And so I wrote this epistolary because I saw the gap that tripped a lot of us into a dungeon pit of despair , depression and agony. We might have at some point thought we ran saline, but alas facts always stood aloof, we ran blood. A lot had happened in the past years under our watch and endurance. With us being in charge we had to take charge, and practice Autonomy!
Our leaders, the matrons, sisters in charge, and senior nurses whom the government and hospitals appointed took less of their roles in their respective cadres and fought against us instead of with us. They listened less and were more defensive against us who cried fowl of the misdemeanors within the institutions. Why would we adopt extremism for problem solving, while actually all we did was create new problems in the far extremity. With ego being unfavorable, it didn't mean idi was.
It reminds me of how we fought women abuse by feminism, and how we remained with the adverse result, man abuse. Why didn't we adopt womanism from the onset? Was it too fragile to cause the desired positive outcome, or we merely miscalculated? How many times had we done things wrongly through the employment of extremism? Two wrongs never made a right, we kept and keep learning everyday!
I am talking about how we fought child abuse to the extreme of teaching children their rights , and emphasized less on their obligations as a generation. All it has done is expose them through fragility, and abuse their upbringers who have done all to survive in them the dynamic surviving skills of this universe. What would become of the spoiled brats in an environment where all are spoilt and none to cry to or blame? Food for thought. Very soon we will be walking and marching around the streets with banners written "Protect the parent! Protect the parent!", Because right now they are on the verge of abuse. All those steps were taken to correct the unruliness of situations, not take away their credibility, but believe you, me anything done or taken in excess becomes our next problem! Toxic.
When will we ever adopt the culture of neutrality? I am talking about the pH 7! Our community is like the vast different environments of the body where we have found comfort in the slight or simple shift to either the opposite extremities. One may argue that it is respectively appropriate but in what instances is it? And can a manual be drawn for proper use? It's food for thought.
It wasn't in my intentions meandering about impertinent concepts because this memoir was initiated to heal the mind of the troubled nurse, to soothe the soul of the helper, to strengthen the weakened abilities of my Zimbabwean nurse, and to revive the passion to her lost profession, because all I saw in her, was a patient treating a patient!
Little did they know, that under that beautiful face hidden behind that expensive and cheap makeup, was and maybe still is a long lost soul that went to work for the right reasons, but executed her duties for relatively the wrong reasons? How we began our profession with passion. Do you still remember when you got that offer letter that said you were invited to go and train at a local school of nursing? The tears of joy you shed? The heartless moments when you artistically shaped those mitered corners, and felt so good when you offered a urinary and the client thanked you for the care? How much do you appreciate each and everyday of your learning and felt if only you could acquire more? When you enjoyed dorning that white princess styled dress,with those smooth untorn panthorse stockings and how swiftly you moved for every procedure with passion? A lot in the whole of you that said yes to the profession , where did it go?
They stole away the most significant things that mattered to the execution of our key roles as nurses. Now they trained our young ones the minimum required skills and knowledge to be exploited in the clinical area to cover up the voluminous gaps created by leadership. Leadership was what tore the wedding day into fragments.
It began as that epic moment when we set out as girls doing our hair and nails in preparation of the big day.
Abruptly she stood up from her chair and cried out "Whaaat?!" I was seated on my "zambia" cloth close to the television as I watched the sudden change of emotions on her face. "They can't tell me I have to report for duty! I told them I really needed that day off!" She cried. "Did you tell them you were getting married on that day?" I asked. "No I didn't Thando, you know them.My day would turn bad." I understood the concept of "telling" but at that point rightful communication was professionally essential.
She threw up the nail kit on the floor and paced up to the kitchen. She washed her hands and brought back with her a defying face. "Now you better get off sick." I told her. "No off sick Thando. We are too bound to act in any retaliating manner right now." I stood to her height and whispered, "You've been retaliating your entire working life, why not now?" She looked at me and she broke down. The other lasses seated on the other side of the veranda rushed to figure out the matter. No one explained. I took her to bed as they eagerly awaited an answer and stared at each other.
Weddings bring a lot with them, elders would say. The concept usually sounded like a myth, but when you happened to experience it, it turned to a fact. We surely were riding coattails.
"I think I heard the issue sis Thando." That was Nyari on my shoulder as we were preparing lunch in the kitchen. "People were talking about it in the corridors. Mxm" she clapped her hands and Drew my attention. I turned and stopped cutting the chicken.
"I heard rumors say she didn't invite the Matrons and significant others! " She had that tell -all face that called for more. "Mmh" I nodded "And then?" "Mxm aah! Who does that here? I heard they wanted to fix her for that!"
"Oow that doesn't matter!" I exclaimed in loft jabbed by her words. "They have been doing it even before." I continued to cut the bird. "Sis Thando it's more serious than you think!" She remarked. "Did you hear that most probably you two might be separated from working together , and they want to take you to MS Ward!" Harsh! The saddest news of the day I had heard.
Male Surgical Ward was a popular department well known for its ionfist governance. It was more autocratic than bureaucratic, but Welly managed successfully under those circumstances. It had a 'no- nonsense' nurse manager who had an abstract decision making skill and management in general. Daringly no one wanted to work in that department. Only those who worked there had gotten accustomed to the pedagogic treatment and had begun to assimilate it as appropriate.
Unlike andragogy scenarios, where as adults would be given luxury of choice over trivial decisions, at Male Surgical Ward adults were allocated tea and lunchtimes strictly according to the nurse manager's discretion and that was it! No negotiations, if need be, they were usually accompanied by hostile responses.
Not even a mere flexibility of duties according to employee to employee agreements, without altering any fundamentals of the day, were allowed to curtail full social problems. Maybe only death of an immediate family member would gain you that, or more in pleasant days. The Definitely Male Surgical Ward was bad news for me!
"Who told you that Nyari?" with great concern. She smirked and replied, "I brush shoulders with the big guys sis Noku. And when I say rumor , I mean the actual people said it". With no doubts to the relevance of her story my focus had shifted from the empathy of Thando's story to worries about my re-allocation.
"Its fine, get the dishes let's set the table for lunch!" I abhorrently carried some dishes to the dining room. We set the dishes well up on the table and called out for everyone to come and dine.
The atmosphere was tense enough to bring dead silence in the room. Even when Jossy tried lightening up with her crazy comments, of how the food looked like the wedding menu and how our sitting arrangement copied the setup. People laughed but instantly engulfed back into dead silence. So Siza by the far corner decided to break the silence, " Is the wedding still on Sis Noku?"
Somehow I got to get the impact of that rumor through that question. I replied with a smile, " Of course dear, why would it be cancelled?" They looked at each other all across the table, and she replied, "Why is Sister Thando not on the table with us?" "You know girls, hosting such a big event is exhausting. She needs to rest her mind." I continued to eat.
Still there was some unease amongst them. They had unanswered, unasked questions that needed clarity. "Sis Noku I think we should pray about this. It's not good at all. I heard my mum say Mai Ruponeso has withdrawn her services from being the maid of honour, because she says this marriage seems to be a curse because of how Sis Thando lured the man of God." She stopped to check my reaction and ended, "Am not sure how far true that is."
Apparently things were falling apart in the backyard and we were to only hear the walls crush on us without us insinuating.
I called mama Ruponeso to enquire about the new developments right away, but she never picked up my calls. I then decided to call Tonde who said he was unaware of all that. I suggested he called the lady to understand because we didn't want any embarrassments on the big day.
After a while Tonde rang me back, breathed " Trouble in Paradise Noku!" I was quick to note relief in his voice. He explained the organogram of hate and fate to the point of the yields and Nyari was right!
For one moment I felt so gross that slumbered upon my friend. My thinking - my prayers could have made a difference! She coukd have had been in a better position. Though I had agreed I somehow let my friend down. I recalled one night when the Pastor one of the days at the ministries hall of the Emmanuel Church stood us up and began to prophesy." You need to pray hard so the devil may be shamed in Jesus's Mighty name I pray." He was a man fond of his repetitive "In Jesus's Mighty name I pray" " I see you planning and planning , but I see a disaster upon your plans. I see both of you plan something like a bouquet but i see a castle tumble down. Please pray, and church , let us pray for them! Amen!" And he went on to the next congregant. Even though Thando tried to stand aloof in interceding at all costs, walls kept closing in. They seemed to be unpleasantly semblancing fate and nothing was easy at all not even gathering people for wedding dances and other crucial pre-wedding preparations.
We were only a day to the final date now. Alas the only hope I had left with was upon the mustard of faith in Jesus, whom I trusted more in hard than in any other times. (not recommended.)The two day camping with the bridesmaids disguised as the foundation of unleashing the hidden agendas of the wicked.They explained it as fate, some said it was Karma. However I understood all those concepts came back to the Cosmo's concept of that the universe had a way of giving back what you gave, and If you gave good it returned back the good and otherwise.
The wedding day was at hand! Beautiful dresses flung on the closet's movable rails. The makeup artist and hairdresser were so busy with their teams plaiting,styling, blushing prettifying the faces of the bride and her maids. The atmosphere was wreathed in joy. I couldn't stop admiring our black silk traditional outfits embellished with gold, cream and blue embroideries. Thando was in her best look ever. She had a rather longer outfit that smoothly followed her beautiful contours, a traditional jewel of beads to ornament her throat and a fine bangle of acrylic beads and macrame string.
Gosh, it was the most beautiful scene i had ever seen. The hall walls were bedecked with classic portraits of canvas african prints in tan frames, tinsel-like decent traditional orange yellow fibres remarked in yellow like goldish fibres that were glittering with the blinking fairy lights. The isle was double padded with a swath of straw mats and a beautiful strip of red carpet embellished with yellow flower petals along the way. Noku was having precisely the wedding of her dreams.
She walked smoothly to the entrance. As pretty as she looked, everybody turned to look at the extravagantly beautiful physique by the door. Women of all ages began to ululate , and danced muchongoyo and ngquzu as they threw their zambias and straw mats along the isle in honour of the beautiful bride who was awaiting to walk in. Men on the other hand blowing whistles and shouting lamentations in their native tongues, "Wena Godlwayo omnyama! Ndlovukazi yesizwe! Majinkila!Mamsoni! Masayesa!" Some were jumping up and down as if in response from a different tribe, "Wekwedu ka! Ewoooo varemba! Vasingadyi dzakafa dzega! Rudzi rwevapfumi aheèe! Vana matako kuzipa! Vasingafugi dzevavamwe, vanoti dzevamwe dzine inda!"
Upfront were the ones in traditional attire as the rest followed in stilettos and safari suits. While others wore more formally in the accorded colors. Everyone was so well dressed and looking so fine. Only the man at the far left corner was in his faded jeans and whitened grey t-shirt. He seemed to be intentionally lost in the middle of a busy crowd awashed in happiness.
People rejoiced, ululated till they grew weary of waiting for the groom. The radio was replayed and replayed till it was not entertaining anymore to play it in concern - where was the groom? He never came. He was shown nude pictures of Noku with the hospital chaplain the night before the wedding and we never heard from him again.
Thandolwenkosi MY DAUGHTER
Thando my beauty.
Forlorn was a group of profound professionals in a galaxy of less significant others that were always relentlessly vulnerable to detastation. The way those milk-white princess style dresses flawlessly hung on them, poor souls just awaiting dirty work and return for laundering irked the disdained me to the marrow. It was cheap a talk to claim and smear blame on them and rightfully sometimes it was mere genuine complaints that sunk them into further exasperation.It was nuance criticism melded of both positivity and negativity which largely reified humdrum. The only way I would blog it out relentlessly with butterflies in my stomach is the hope that tables turned and she has gained her due respect. Because in the due course of penning this letter, I have budged up emotions within. Turmoil is bugging me who I am writing to? Also not sure where the first decoder would be the last or should I group them and make them one audience.
It began as a letter to you Thando, my unborn child, then to my best friend, then to the Thandos that I worked with, or was it to my aspiring youngsters and daughters who wanted to be nurses. I kept swearing to myself that my daughter would never become one. It became a pother to understand my line of thinking, the sudden turnover of decisions made, spurring myself nursing was the greatest choice I had made as a kickstart to professional life as it opened my eyes, opened great doors of opportunities and landed me the best lessons of this discourse.
I found it funny how I befriended someone with exactly the same name I aspired for my daughter. If i spoke of Thando in my daily letters one would truly fathom over the imaginations of this beautiful, sweet young soul awashed in affluent words of grooming though at times thought of as controversial, from her cuckoo mother. Maybe that is why it was easier for the mother to let it out all because it was all captured in emotions and great optimism that unlike Chiedza Tawuchira Mavangira's great book "What Your Mom didn't tell You." A piece of work besieged by her life experiences where she spoke of the perplexities of our very own complex Zimbabwean upbringing. The resistance to cultural evolution, its pros and cons, and how she laid out in thin lines the ear-bite to us the sisters of the changing times.
Unlike Chichi's line, the craziness lay upon letting my daughter know relentlessly about the power of experience backed knowledge, that someday she would write a renowned blog to correct on "What our moms never told us" and maybe publish a book "A nude letter from My Mother!" Which in a respective galaxy would dorn a decent brightful Cover page with this beauty in a long dazzling see through colourful dress. Only to convey the message and make it heard.
I pray that during those times the world would have rolled itself back to its respective corner, where dignity, decency, pride and other key words to our slowly vanishing humanity would be brought back to life.
Pride should be an accessory not a trait that defines you. Nothing in this life stays forever but 'permanent' is a word that describes something that exists too. Almost everything in this discourse can always be seen with another eye, you choose which to possess, but be wise my little princess because choices are what make us or break us.
You could be so lucky to be a descendant of so truth telling genes that don't meander about the truth. This world is standing on its feet and beautiful may define ugly but remember choices are what will make you or break you.
However the eye is the biggest deceiver. It may picture a mouthwatering melon that taste may condone. Not all that glitters is gold! It might be better when it's just a shiny useless stone on the ground than to be deceived into deep waters by a shiny mysterious object of the marines.
This letter will teach you about you, specifically you and if you look sideways for assurance you may never get one, but trust your instincts they never lie. The you that you see, may not be real you but you may be the best version of yourself when you least expected. All it takes is for you to believe and be true to yourself.
Always remember that 'doing good you do for yourself and bad likewise.' When you cheat, you cheat yourself and when you tell the truth, you are honest to yourself. Though at times there may be beneficial lies, it never makes them good, but the world is a jungle where survival skills may vary and differ with the concepts of good and bad, right and wrong.
There are a few rules that I wish you could embrace.
4. Acknowledge your environment
It is better to be a Godly lunatic than to be worldly wise. The universe may have the same norms but the majority doesn't define right. Be wary of who you follow or of what defines your path. Look closely into your choices especially friends and learn to be in control always lest you are cornered into dungeons, some which may eat you up for life.
Friends may become family or enemies, all this lies on your choices. Rightful friends are friends that you don't query their paths, those that are genuine and transparent. Your friends should be a reflection of you and never the opposite. Who you are will determine your choices. So bad friends may largely be your fault, and each time you come across such be true to yourself to admit your choices were wrong, so you get insight and correct on that.
It is so dangerous to deceive yourself on any aspect in life because even when someone comes to your assistance , you won't be available for rescue. A listening ear and a pure heart are golden. They make you available for rescue and opportunities often. You are special and don't let anyone take away that feeling from you.
As a mother, my wishes are plenty. I wish to raise you so well that the concepts of love and truthfulness engrave into your little mind. They allow you to be bold without fear and to fit in even when you seem perverse. I wish you to understand yourself better so you may know what is right for you and what is not.
I understand as I write this letter that this world is dynamic. Choosing a religion for you would be the last thing I ever wanted but I will give you an insight of religion starting from your fore fathers. What ever religion you may choose, embrace it whole heartedly because it is food to the immortal soul and spirit influences our physical beings.
I believe in most religions the common factor is people believe there is one God in the highest. The ideologies of these are plenty, complex and may not need you to engage yourself so as to understand lest you lose yourself in them. Religions may be scary as they hold supernaturality but in actual fact may be very assistive. Religion is a belief in a certain doctrine of orthodoxies, where full understanding of those spiritual things may never be archived but never be scared to question the basics of any doctrine based on their sources, because you need to be an active believer not a passive one.
Our traditional background when our forefathers lived, had strong spiritual beliefs that some ended terming superstitious but had some reality though. The three Cs of African colonisation brainwashed our people to think African beliefs were not real but theirs. The concept of either is the same because they all engage faith, belief in things not seen but heard. So be gentle on yourself because the understanding of these comes with maturity and discernment.
Coming from the Varemba tribe I understood that there were pros and cons of my culture that needed social distancing from, because when you eat the fruits of a tree be ready to water it or vice versa. There are certain religions that don't let you go without giving back. Almost every religion is like that, you give so as to receive back in return. In this our culture a lot of african medicine, herbs and other confusing orthodoxies were involved. There were cleaner genuine customs like circumcision and genital mutilation for boys and girls respectively. Those were done to prevent contraction of diseases by a certain percentage and preserving marriages. Trainings were done yearly like the Xhosas' Intwasa festival. Ours was called …….
A lot had to be later reviewed but the initial objectives of the exercises was logical and of great assistance to the community at large. Though in life there maybe other very smart people who may recycle pre existing ideas and make them sound and look new, when they are merely stolen ideas. The new developments of circumcision now found in the hospitals long existed in our culture but maybe enviromental sterility was the new word for our people that they needed to archive. Trying to look back on how they had gotten that concept before, tells you a lot about the relationship between us and religion. Some of these things came through dreams and visions to the wisemen who spoke with the ancestors. That's how strong religion could take one.
That was the beauty of our ancient culture. Some still embrace it to date. It involved a lot of expectations. We were not allowed to eat any meat not slaughtered by an official varemba. We were forbidden to eat pork or any product of pork and macimbi. The closest meat we could consume in the urban areas was the haalal meat sold at local Jewish butcheries. And because we hated the idea of having to be taken out of school every August to attend the traditional ceremony, and scared of the massive beatings that everyone got there we hid behind christianity till our ages elapsed the maximum for training.
I remember my late uncle, a guru of the strong tribal ideologies of the Varemba was complaining to my father about why I and my sisters had not attended the ceremonies yet. By then my father was a newly appointed bishop at a new apostolic church in Beitbridge and was so pertinacious about his new beliefs. He would explain how he grew up seeing his late uncle SaMave going up the mountain to pray, calling up on the God of the heavens on the mountain Mjeje, and how no one supported him in his worship. He commented on how truthful he was to everyone, his kindness, the love he had for his people despite their short comings. He generally fell in love with his conduct and God and had no doubt wanted to follow his foot steps.
Often by the mountain side when we went culturally every beginning of the year to pray, he would relate about his journey, when he started praying, how he prayed underneath the trees on the same mountains as a little boy as he herded cattle. By then it was perverse but the fruits of his loyalty to Christ were starting to yield now and monkey breads were falling like blessings from above. A living testimony alone can tell you what works and what doesn't.
This old guy with all his effort he put in our upbringing and his expectations at hand, was able to let us go under close watch so we chose which denominations we trully wanted to follow but never stopped preaching the same gospel he raised us with. He said it often, "Bantwabami never forget the God that took you this far! You may do all things but always remember there is one God who has been tried and tested and you have seen him. All things are possible through him! He personally took me out of the dungeon and placed me upon a throne like Joseph, and that is the reason why I managed even to fend for you at all times." He spoke all these with emphasis as if trying to sink it into our hard heads that the Lion of Judah was the most high above all gods.Yes he was right!
His response to the question about our non attendance to the traditional ceremony was a big NO with no explanations at all. Everyone had gotten news in the family that, that is how we would create covenants with the sacred alters of the tribe that involved blood sacrifices and no onewanted that!
To date I have unanswered questions. What if there were just mischievous people who misused the traditional powers of the alters to spill innocent blood and for creed and greed did the un expected so they themselves could be feared and be wealthy. We grew up being told that we were of a wealthy tribe of tge Jews but our people were so poor as compared to other tribes we had seen in the city. We were warned that we were never to curse anyone even when we never meant it because some supernatural spirit of our tribe respected our wishes. That's how even our uncles sacrificed other's to the evil alters that made them rich.
You maybe wondering why mum is so sure of all the non evidence-based things she is saying but we were there when some of those things happened. I remember in the nineties SaKhulekani, the great guru of the tribal mysteries, got very ill till he was taken off to the the central hospital in Bulawayo. A few weeks later one of our aunties got sick and got admitted, and abruptly he was well, mobilising and talking well the same day our auntie died.
For the consecutive years that came after all the people that fell ill the same time with him passed on and he would mysteriously awaken to full life that same day. Superstition right? I would understand if it took you long to understand but one thing for a fact I know we will get to the same page sooner or later. It sounded too to me like a superstition till it hit me hard when I almost lost my closest sister. That year tables turned. I looked cluelessly at our church prophets and propheteses as they came with their visions and myths as I thought then. My worry now was six of them who did not know each other and visited at different times said almost the same thing. There was this dark stout venda man who sounded too lazy to talk but looked very worried from his face. "Vhafunzi" he often called my dad. "Vangang'tendela uri ndihumisele hezvo zwithu khamune wazwo?" I could see the confusion on my father's face, because it was his gospel that revenge was for God not us humans. He stood there clueless watching his daughter on a death bed. He had cried often in the past two days as he sat by the parking lot, because the situation had gotten worse and doctors were saying they couldn't find anything wrong with all the investigations they had made. I guess it ate him to the bone to think he could pray and heal others in the blood of the Redeemer but he could not save his own daughter.
The stout prophet continued in confidence as he gave a scenario, "Khavhari ndizwi ise ngaheyi ndila. Vhone vhampha peni yavho, nditshivhoyi humisela ndithayidzo?" Somehow he had facts in his concepts. He said his proses on light notes. Literally his question was, ' if someone lended you a pen and you decided to return it back. Was is a crime?' Food for thought. My question was 'Why would someone give you something that you never wanted after all?' Food for thought again!
I used to sleep at the hospital with my sister because I couldn't stand the thoughts of 'what could be happening to her right now in my absence.' I never slept, i took random naps and woke up often to check on her in the middle of the night to see if she was still breathing. I never cried back then, though it irked so hard, but as I write this letter, particularly this paragraph, I paused a moment as I burst into tears. I had never taken myself aback so deep in retrospect. I just realised I almost lost her. I also got to see the tears of the most strongest man that I had never known.
Life could be that hard, I thought to myself but back then I guess everyone was trying to be strong for the only guy who was always strong for us whenever we broke down. My daughter pain can be deep to tearing a soul apart, but when grace exempts you, you experience it but go through it torn but not in pieces. Sometimes God may look distant but He will be there on time, his time to set things right. Never ever doubt his capabilities, and when things go the other way always learn to acknowledge his schedule. The difference, you can only tell when you pray for the spirit of descernment.
We tend to question God because we will be running away from questioning ourselves. Most times we happen not to be true to ourselves, so our grieving process is often drowned in poor copying mechanisms like fault finding. When you are truthful to him and it is not his will that calamity befalls you, he will never let it happen. And if you are faithful to him and a calamity befalls you, descernment peacefully tells you , its his will. Only when you feel you could have done something to having avoided it that you feel to blame, and oh yes! You will be right to feel that way because you would not have done your part, though it was his will.
I remember there was a debate that Saturday evening. Our church Pastor had lined out measures to be taken to correct the spiritual misdemeanors that had been prophesied about. Mom and dad argued about how we could get her out of the hospital so we could go and religiously steam her with menthol and hot marbles, which was a common exercise in our doctrine so as to chase the unwanted evil spirits away. Dad argued of how that was possible when she couldn't even breathe properly. I remember mum loudly questioning in whisper," So where is the faith? Where is it?!" My dad would only question what if she died in the process? That was the same man that had taught us about faith, but had been hit so hard when he least expected and was losing almost everything he had. He was doubting the essential things to his being, but was quick to get back to his senses. "It is fine. Let's ask the doctor so we can take her home, then we will bring her after an hour"
I also had fear bundled in my chest, because I believed a lot in this guy and I trusted his instincts. In my mind I was thinking 'what if what he feared comes to life?' It was possible. Alas! God had a purpose. Soon after the steaming, she coughed and coughed and emitted mucoid and purulent spit. She stood up and said "I am better now." Remember she could not speak before, even mobilising she needed an aid to. I saw the face of God that evening. I rushed to get her some porridge as mum had requested. She ate eight more spoons from the two she usually took before with difficulties.
We took her back to the hospital. The receptionist was amuzed when she saw her walk in after two hours in almost a complete make over of who she was a few hours ago. She stood up and rushed to get a wheelchair as she asked, "Dont you think you need a wheelchair Bee?" She shook her head in a faint smile as her eyes smiled too. Everyone including the nurse on duty that night was shocked. But most often people have undermined the capabilities of the Holy Trinity to the extent of suspecting foul play even when grace has taken place. I have always thought tgat people have always seen the extraordinary in the other world and little in the Christly one. That even when a man of God heals and does wonders of the bible, they tend to question. Testimonies are never distant that you may seek them in faraway locations, they live within us , and as long as you live to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you live to testify each and everyday of your life. It's your own choice my daughter , but I have endorsed Him that saves in your life.
Some experiences you will follow as you will read my letters to you and some letters that I wrote to others. I believe you are the re-birth of me to archive what I may have failed to archieve. Through you I woukd love to see the flourishing of great gifts, but first of the Holy Spirit, that will effortlessly give you more as a package that comes with it. It may sound dumb and boring initially but give it a try, there is more to it if you trully and holy engage with the trinity that the eye can see.
I can imagine seeing you say "Ohh mum and her theories!" sarcastically but I know someday you will get to be grateful for all this, like I am to your grannies. Every blessing that befalls me right now is because of the grace upon their lives and their unseasonal prayers and faith that God is now offering back their returns.In the due course of your faith, be mature and civilised enough to acknowledge that people in this world are different, and always respect the next person's choice especially to religion as much as you would want yours to be respected. Also take note that not everyone will give you back the respect in return but act like a mad man and continue in your lane of good unshaken, that is grace for you. You can not change everyone, only God can, but never stop preaching the gospel of the one above of love, peace, kindness and happiness.
Bitterness is a rotten trait, never ever accomodate it. Dont ever surround yourself with bitter people, if it's at work or school keep some social distancing from such because it is a very vicious and transmissible hydra. It can format all the settings in you like a gadget virus. Bitter people rarely see any good in others, they often criticise even when there is nothing much to criticise, there a generally a group of failures who made their own mistakes and want to find comfort in smearing everyone with their own mud. Never judge them, love and respect them but always keep a distance because so far it is so hard to cure.
Let go of your past if it makes you sad or bitter and be wary to have a soft present so it does not create a past that will be hard on you. Mistakes are common but common does not necessarily define mistakes, so find other common positive things to commonise in your life than mistakes. Them being common does not make them right, and everything you do consciously knowing, or having being told, is not a mistake. That is fate!
Once bitten twice shy, goes the old saying, but when you keep on being beaten by the same mistake I do not know my daughter, what other saying could be invented to assist such a derailing mind. No one is perfect and I don't expect you to be but find yourself in genuine mistakes please, not misusing the word to accommodate your failures. Know yourself and you will definitely figure out your path. Everything you learn even at school comes to play in life. Mathematics teaches you about probability, use it to set and note the trends of your life. It works.
Don't look at life with blinkers, only donkeys need those and not at all times but though at specific occasions. There is more to this discourse than said. Read Adansonias with enthusiasm because in those thin lines lies the real aspects of a girl child's life who had not found herself but later did. Your love life in our archaic upbringing was supposed to be a mystery to me as a mother, but just because with the present generation aunty roles are left unexecuted with no guidance at all for the young, I will personally do it though with butterflies in my stomach because it is a genesis of something new even that my mother tried but failed to do.
You will have friends as you grow, female and male ones. My fear does not lie in your early years of childhood, but upon your enrichment of adolescence. That peak moment of your life will be more like a mental hormonal induced sickness period of your life. All the enthusiasm that it carries is perishable. It may take you to euphoric ends to strange pits of despair but all that is not life, it is just a phase of life that eventually passes. Virginity, unpopular with most of this present generation, is a gift that you are born with. Jealously guard it with pride. As I mentioned before, the majority does not define right. But as you guard it bare in mind that you are doing it for yourself, not the man who will marry you though it may come up as an added advantage to him.
This will keep you away from mischief, sexually transmitted diseases and ungodly demons of the universe, that have become a trend of the present day in our society. The most important valid reason is it places you at a better spiritual position as a holder of a precious gift of the Holy Spirit. Somethings seem not achievable but trying ain't a crime. Try and never stop trying, that is the medicine to achievements. There are some dirty stains that come with sleeping around. Stains that are stubborn and bring with them bad ommen you may regret having attained.
Listen and listen carefully! There is no sin greater than the other, but get it from me and from experience, sex before marriage is the most dreadful sin that may shumble every hopeful thing in your life till cleansed. The Holy Trinity cannot stay in a bereaved being, a dirty soul and a confused individual. Repeat these lines and remember them always.
Well it does not mean that without virginity you are not loved as Temitope Ballogun once said " You may be ill or sick and still be a friend to Jesus!" What matters is how you pick yourself up after falling that determines the change of your story. Be strong like the baobab ,and adjust to whatever circumstances. You better shed off your leaves to preserve yourself for a better tomorrow than to wither away with the seasons and storms.
DONNING AND DOFFING.
In a half lit room with darkness plenty plus on the anterior side of the hall, stood a mildly masculine man with matching blue clothing , a slim fit trouser that almost bulged at the anterior. He stood relaxed in confidence of his looks as he awaited his colleague to finish setting up the visual projector. Dr Sharai stood up from his seat proximal to the front table, went up to the man in a brown leather jacket, whispered something to him as he touched the codes, and the moving pictures in conjuction with thesoubd
Thank you for reading!