What’s Stopping You

Good evening.

A few months back I created this blog with an intend to share stories that are close to my heart. Fear took over and I couldn’t post, I kept on postponing. I wanted the first post to be grand and perfect, to be well researched and well written. However, I have learnt also during these past months about fear and perfectionism. The most teachings I have learnt from Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book Big Magic are that perfectionism stops people from completing their work, even worse, it stops people from beginning their work. Perfectionism causes one to hold back ideas, hold back contributions, hold back leadership and talents. The most evil trick about perfectionism is that it disguises itself as s virtue.

Let me confess to you that I am a victim of fear clothed in perfectionism, which I will be slowly doing away with this year.

In doing so, I would like to share with you a story about Zimbabwe. It was two months before the former President Robert Mugabe was forced to back down when I wrote it. I wish to not edit it or merge it to the current situation.

Now let’s;

THE STATE OF BEING FOREIGN

“It is not their life, it can never be their life. They are human, no human deserves to go through that. Find another line to detach from the situation, not that one. Refrain from it.”

For as long as I can remember, Zimbabwe has been experiencing a series of political turmoil. It has been through extreme economical crises. Thus resulting in many Zimbabweans fleeing and migrating to other countries to seek life. My country, Botswana, shares a border with it and has had its share in refuging and accommodating a lot of them.

Before I go into further detail, I would like to define some terms, which I am sure you know, but just to remind you of them.

1. Foreign – relating to or originating in, or characteristic of another place or part of the world.

2. Foreigner – A person who comes from a foreign country; someone who does not owe allegiance to your country.

3.Government – The organization that brings conformity with rules of a political unit.

4. Zimbabwe – a landlocked republic in Southern Africa, formerly called Rhodesia, achieved independence from Britain in 1980.

#All definitions adapted from the Collins English Dictionary.

Not let’s continue. Around the 1990s when I was growing up, Zimbabwe was thriving. It was the industrial center with factories that worked raw materials into finished goods. It had food security with more excess to export to other countries, especially my country. The education was of good quality and standard; parents from different countries took their children there for school. To this date, in my opinion, those who schooled in Zimbabwe remain the brightest.

Until 2007 when there was a radical collapse of the economy, a soar spiral of the economy. I must be quick to say this collapse was a result of the many political downfalls that had occurred. It was not an overnight event. Plantations closed down, factories as well, people lost their jobs duly to the inflation and economic crises. The great Zimbabwe was soon the weak feeble Zimbabwe with a lot of its citizens being spread all over the world.

While out there in foreign land, it hasn’t been easy for them (Zimbabweans). Some have prevailed and managed to secure decent reasonable jobs. Some on the other hand have had it very tough, struggling to get jobs, failing to even afford themselves a place to stay, hence sleeping in the streets. In a foreign land. One thing I would like to point out about this nation is that they are hardworking, they have a knack of carrying out any task efficiently and effectively. They have beautiful bright minds, and many at times I associate them more with a royal priesthood Peter talks of. In Botswana, they are absorbed well in the white collar jobs, there is also a good number dominating in domestic work for women, and multi intermediate domestic for men. Men and women who have degrees, university degrees, have come down to this level just so they can sustain themselves especially their kids.

P.S; there is totally nothing wrong with domestic work. It is a job like any other, I just happen to use it in contrast with other jobs.

Along side the job struggle is allowance to stay in the country. It is never easy being a foreigner, every now and then you have to apply for permit and sometimes it’s declined. When it’s declined you are expected to go back. Go back to hopeless, maybe lifeless place. Hence we have a lot who reside without permits, or passports, or have fake identity altogether.

Often there are ardent raids in which those residing illegally are captured and deported back to Zimbabwe. This exercise though is of little or no essence because they return back, shortly after being dropped off at the boarder. I experienced this situation at a closer level when our housekeeper was raided recently. I felt a stab of sadness and pity at the news. Helpless as I was, I could only hope and wait. When I went to check at the police station one lady said to me, “you shouldn’t worry yourself, she’ll comeback . This is their life, they’re used to it.” My emotions were stirred up and tangled at this news.

Soon after two days our helper returned. Tired and weary as she was, I began to question her. I wanted to know what she ate, how she slept, how they treated her and what she felt. I wanted to know her experience, all of it, and she shared willfully.

Her first night was spent in a detention cell. A small filthy dirty room that had no windows and light. It is sure not suitable for habitation. The Police officers were kind enough to lend her a blanket. I was then quick to inquire about the conduct of the Police officers and she speaks warmly of them. She says they were kind and sympathetic. “One of them, he’s an old man said “one day Zimbabwe will be OK”. The ladies were kind too, she adds; one of them gave her a fat cake to sup. The following morning they went to a regional jail before they could get on with the deporting journey to the north. They were picking up two Zimbabwean men who complained about hunger. Their journey then stretched up north to a refugee camp in Francistown, where they were to rest and leave the next morning. At the camp, there were Congolese refugees due to the civil war that was going on in their country. Men, and women and children were fled from Congo to Botswana for refuge. There is sufficient food and toiletry and blankets for these people at the camp. She took a breathe, and acknowledged God’s goodness, and also applauded Botswana government. There were other foreigners joining them in the deportation journey at the camp; more Zimbabweans of course, a Zambian and a Chinese girl, who apparently had been there for three months. She also had exceeded her stay, and the government was sending her back.

Our conversation drifted to deep waters and she told me of the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, party members who are there under state custody. Some have claimed citizenship in Botswana, and some are still waiting for time to elapse so they can also gain their citizenship. Meanwhile their children are not going to school, their families in Zim know not of their whereabouts, they came here covered like Muslims. They are not to be seen by the Zimbabwean spies, and they shall go back only when Zimbabwe has a new ruling party, or never.

She paused, took a deeper breath than before and acknowledged God’s goodness greatly. She began to thank God, acknowledging that there are worse cases than hers and Zimbabwe’s. She says she felt very pity for the Chinese lady who was to be deported to as far as her home country, China. She thanked God that at least in Zimbabwe children are going to school, getting learned, unlike in Congo. The children in Congo are not going to school at all, it is not safe, and there is not enough time to impart knowledge, it is war time.

She then spoke lengthily about Botswana government. It is a generous one, she says, for it to even deport to destinations as far as China. Zimbabweans are constantly deported and they always come back, but the government does not tire to its duty of returning them back. How noble of the government to transport refugees from their country, harbor and provide them with the basic of shelter and food.

Side Thought; Is Botswana government being noble and wise, knowing very well that the deported do return shortly after, is it not depletion of resources in the name of work?

P.S;the treatment of the captured by the Police officers differs from person to person and circumstance. While in this case our house keeper was treated well, some have totally opposite experiences. Experience then is exclusive to every individual, so is opinion.

After our long chat, she went to bath and relax. I remained alone and began to think. A whole new perspective came about; I ought to willfully wield to gratefulness, to always look on the bright side. Deep thoughts about souls also forced into my head, souls at prison, souls at orphanages, souls at community centers,even ones at hospitals. These souls are in need, not of food or blankets. They are in need of love, love from strangers, strangers that will become friends eventually. And those strangers are me and you. So if you can, please identify anything that you can work with or do and yield to it. Help however you can, visit, laugh and chat with them, impart knowledge, just anything really.

Remember also to say a prayer for them. Remember to say a prayer for Zimbabwe, for Congo, for Angola and for every state that is in Chaos. And maybe for every family that is in chaos too.

And lastly;

“It is not their life, it can never be their life. They are human, no human deserves to go through that. Find another line to detach from the situation, not that one. Refrain from it.”

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What Do You Do About It

I met a girl in intense distress and I asked if she wanted to talk about it. She went on to tell me that it was life, that life is giving her a hard time, that she is loosing everything all at once. And I was there listening, imagining and relating and remembering. She paused on her cry and asked,

“What do you do about it?” I whispered, “I endure it”

She opened her eyes and I said “I barely talk about it” she started to listen,

“I smoke about it, and have deep conversations with the cigarette” she looked at me, But I have never held a cigarette in my life. And I said to her,

“You don’t have to, more than I smoke about it I write about it, more than I write about it I cry about it, more than I cry about it, I pray about it”

I held her hand tight and whispered,

” You will know what to do about it, you have started by crying. Knowing what to do will occur naturally like your body processes. Your cry shall dwell and manifest in your ways,

That is what you do about it”

_____________________________

Hence this blog, in which I shall share with you thoughts of a girl, experiences, sad and happy stories.

I hope we have a good time together.