I still stand here and watch
Glimpses of you floating past
If only you would hold still
And I would bend you to my will
Which will? You stop to ask
When I have lived and seen it;
Where you have lived, loved and lost!
Which will do you speak of and boast?
Loving laughter bubbling your throat
Jovial @24, bubbly @24
I still stand watch, wondering -
Are you happy @44?
Are you groovy @44?
Are you HAWT @44?
I will not move from my post soon –
That’s when it comes – that whisper;
Surprisingly wrapped in wisdom. . .
“For you to live, love, learn & know-
Leave that post – live a lot!”
Life in abundance! Leave that post!
My Saviour’s intention
To live my life in abundance!
To live a lot
Gale force winds, burning skies
Swaying me from that intended way
Stubbornly I refuse to move
I will live a WHOLE lot!!!
Fear of the unforeseen expiry date creeps in
A little like a little spider in my ear
Whispering words and sentences I couldn’t hear
Tickling sensations pleasantly disturbing
Carry me off to sleep on fearful spider legs
Even in dreamland I can’t shake you off;
Down a forgotten alley I chase you,
Screaming & shouting till I am hoarse
Willing you to, “SHOW YOURSELF!!!”
Flashes of the little lot I have lived go past
My knees meet the ground with a thud
Fists rising and raising dust as I pound the ground
I lift my face to the dead end road ahead
A scorching scream violates my lips & shoots out of me
Energy leaves me – I thought we could meet finally!
Lightning slices the sky dazzling me
Tenderly I feel that spider marching all over my body
Seems it has grown many a leg, its touch feather light
The dream melts into reality
Back to desert waste land from that alley
You are washed away by the rain
Yet you linger on in reality
“Live, love, learn, know –I hear it all over again – that whisper,
Leave the past and live a lot!
The river flows. . .
The first time I heard of Miss Earth Zimbabwe was in 2012 when Dimitra Markou was the reigning Miss Earth and I was involved in the Bin-It Zimbabwe project. My first thought was “this is great, they have a pageant for the environment!” I never once thought I would be a contestant because I am more of a behind the scenes girl! This year I saw the call for Miss Earth contestants and I decided to give it a try. When we were told to plan and implement a project I was simply even more excited by the Miss Earth Zimbabwe pageant! It would give me a shot at my beauty pageant queen dream AND also let me run a project!
My project is called “Environment Matters” (yes, that double entendre was intentional). It is a project that is mainly based in Kuwadzana, Harare. I am going to be working in Kuwadzana for a very long time hence I decided to lay the foundation of some environmental work in the community through this project. The project has a triple touch point which encompasses schools, communities and online presence. I set out to form “Green Zim for Life” Environmental Clubs in schools, engage with the Kuwadzana residents and interact with the online community as well.
On the 26th of July I took part in the Robofest Zimbabwe First Lego League (FLL) Robotics Competition which was held at Hypercube Hub. Trust for Education in Science and Technology (T.E.S.T) organised competition together with TechWomen Zimbabwe. In this competition kids aged 8 – 18 years built robots to solve litter problems. On the day of the competition I managed to get some coloured bins from Environmental Management Agency (EMA). The bins came in very handy because we managed to demonstrate separation at source as well as use them during the competition. I also made the opening remarks and talked about separation at source.
Even though I coached some of the volunteers who were coaching the kids,it boggled my mind how we would be using robots to solve litter problems. While I was coaching the volunteers building and programming the robots looked easy because we had pictorials to guide us. What I didn’t know was that on the day of the competition the teams of 2 -3 kids had to build and program the robots without pictorials. We all had no clue what the challenge for the competition day was and so we did our best to make sure that the teams we were coaching were well equipped for anything. As the day of the competition drew closer I was probably even more excited than the kids, I kept wondering what the challenge was and how they would tackle it.
The 26th of July finally arrived and the challenge was revealed: the teams had 150 minutes to build robots that collected litter from 3 bins and 1 bonus bin which had an obstacle in front of it to make it more difficult for the teams to reach it. As soon as the challenge was revealed I was even more excited! Teams started working on turning their Lego pieces and Mindstorm kits into robots. These kids were really geeking it out! They were connecting Lego pieces together and typing commands on laptops for their robots to follow – all this at top speed! I went around the tent asking the teams tons of questions and found out that most of them joined the Robotics club at their schools because it was something different. I promise you – it really is something different and it is very exciting.
Project teams were also part of the competition and these were made up of 4 – 6 members who had to research on various topics. The team that I was working with researched on water purification and they had a very well researched presentation. Other teams researched on ways of recycling plastic, paper and even on waste management. The solutions that the project teams came up with were simply mind blowing! They were showing how to make recycled paper, use plastic waste for repairing roads (a solution I believe we really need in Zimbabwe) and much more.
At the end of the competition the teams had all managed to construct robots that DID collect litter from the bins. In case you are asking yourself what kind of robots these 8 – 18 year olds built, let me define a robot for you. A robot is an automated machine that is programed to follow certain commands. So in other words, to simplify it – anything that has a brain with a list of commands to follow and cannot think for itself is a robot. I am looking forward to so much more Green Tech initiatives, this is just the beginning of it all!
I have always wanted to be a model of some sort, it was one of those things I have sincerely wanted to try out. For years I used to dream of being stumbled upon by some agent the way Naomi Campbell was scouted, and that is still a dream. Up to now I wonder if we have scouts in Zimbabwe – maybe there are, but they haven’t seen me yet. I am finally a model and it is not as much glitz and glamour as I thought it would be! I am a Miss Earth Finalist for 2014, does that make me a model? I think it does!
In 2010 when my cousin and I started an Artiste Management Agency and I thought my dream had been taken away from me because “who would hire the one who hires the models?” I resorted to walking around in high heels everyday & strutting my stuff while crossing the road as a song played in my head. It must have been the most hilarious thing ever to witness, especially because I really did “work it” while I crossed roads and then I would walk normally as soon as I touched the pavement. Those were awesome days! I was 20, felt like I owned the world & I was the queen of everything! The agency was alive for 6 months then we closed it because of my full time employment elsewhere.
Every now and then I remembered the time I told my mom and aunties that I was going to be Miss Zimbabwe one day. It made sense to them because I was a tall, beautiful 6 year old with the loveliest hair & eyes! I was watching the Miss Zimbabwe 1995 pageant with my family and I had been vouching for Dione Best who went on to win the contest. As soon as she was announced as the winner, the loud mouthed little girl that I was decided she was going to be Miss Zimbabwe & everyone simply had to know. I was sitting / lying on the floor & told them one day that was going to be me. It is weird how for a couple of months that was my dream till I got onto a plane and decided I wanted to be an air hostess instead.
My career choice kept changing, at some point I wanted to be a neuro-surgeon after hearing about Ben Carson, then I wanted to be a paediatrician because babies make me light up, I remember wanting to be a geologist because my uncle was one, the list and reasons are endless. Now I just want to make a difference in any way that I can and work with my two favourite things on earth; people and smiles.
The Miss Earth Zimbabwe Foundation promised me a platform to create a sustainable difference & I must say they did deliver on that promise! This is a pageant with a difference because all finalists have to run an environmental project for 60 days and the project constitutes 40% of our total pageant scores. It is only natural that I chose to work with people and smiles for my absolutely fulfilling green project! I have been working on my project called “Environment Matters” in Kuwadzana since the first week of August.
All I can say right now is my experience has been simply eye opening, enlightening and amazing! I can’t wait to share it with you all. My next few blog posts will be about my project and how the Miss Earth Pageant is slowly chipping away at the tomboy in me. Yes, sometimes I am angry at that – I love my simple hair, tees, jeans and sneakers: BUT I am also discovering that I like lipstick, curled locks, mascara & pretty dresses too. I am not sure how I feel about foundation though, however I know concealer is amazing!
It seems most people are liking my new look, my aunt Nomvula looked at my Whatsapp profile picture one day, sent me this message – “Siyabonga iMiss Earth nge profile pic” (“We thank Miss Earth for the profile pic”) then told me to thank the Miss Earth Foundation on her behalf. I haven’t done as she asked so;
“Dear Miss Earth Foundation,
Thank you for giving this opportunity to my niece and for contributing to the lovely profile pictures we are seeing on social media. I hope this is here to stay or at least to be constant.
I hope you guys will all enjoy my Miss Earth Finalist journey – I promise you, it has been very different from what I expected it to be!
The river flows. . .
The day she left I felt some kind of relief; the past four years had not been easy on her. That phone call is one I think I will never forget. How can I? It heralded the setting of her sun and the dawn of a new era in our lives! Soon after that relief, a pain such as I have never felt before made its way into my heart and threatened to live there till I booted it out by force.
We had walked this earth together since I was a baby on her back; she carried me, fed me, clothed me, bathed me and loved me. I’m sure I was not an easy baby at all! I must have been a loud mouthed, always talking kind of little girl. I was forever all over the place so much that my granddaddy called me ‘kashiri’ meaning little bird – non-stop chirping, continuously moving! Yet she would let me talk her ears off all the time. Sometimes I would call her just to hear her answer – a habit I carried into my adulthood, one that we would laugh about.
It used to look like she was really big when I was a kid. Only in 2008 did I realise she was really quite very tiny! It shocked me quite a bit that I could hug her and she would fit right under my chin. I would hug her and smile right over her head – every hug reminded me of just how little she was and how not long ago I used to think she was quite the opposite. Do not be fooled by the outside! This little lady was made of tough stuff; she was so strong we all leaned on her. All of us! All of us being her husband, 6 children (incl. her sister’s daughter that she adopted) and 9 grandchildren. The only thing that seemed to shake her much was us not going to see her for the holidays. I guess in short I can say she was our rock.
There never was an interaction without a lesson. My favourite lesson that I still carry around with me is money isn’t everything, as long as you are happy you will be alright. This woman also taught me the value of working hard and pushing hard to get what you want. I remember one time she told me to “vuk’uzenzele” meaning “get up and do it for yourself”. Those words stuck, I tried working hard and the rewards kept me going. I still work quite hard today, largely because of her encouragement and the look on her face when I told her of my achievements. That was just priceless! I lived for that look, for seeing the excitement registering – it was that ‘ding!’ that made me want to accomplish even more.
Contrary to popular belief, being a pastor’s granddaughter and a therefore a pastor’s wife’s granddaughter was one of the most amazing things that I have ever been. I remember getting ready for church, knocking at their bedroom door in my Sunday Best and being handed my offering; 5c coin which had a rabbit on it. I wonder if it was taken from my pocket money or if they just decided to give us the money. I grew to love that 5c coin till I graduated to the 20c one. If the beauty of a soul could be defined by the love one has for their creator, hers would be stunning! The woman loved God so much and tried her best to show us how to do that too. Sometimes we walked over 15km just to get to the church where she would be preaching at, when she could she would simply cycle the distance.
This is an ode to Nyakutumbura Nyakutumbura, Amai vaAmai vangu, Ambuya vangu, Gogo vangu, the one who loved me like my own mother did. The one whose love for all people, especially her grandchildren can never be replaced or even remodelled. She was a pillar of strength, my cornerstone, my guide, my yardstick. Rest in peace Gogo, you are simply an amazing woman and I hope to become half the woman that you were on this earth!
Signed . . . The proudest granddaughter ever!
The river flows. . .
It is 6.24pm on Valentine’s Day as I write this and it is ‘Show&Tell’ time all over the world. Chat platforms are going berserk with pictures of gifts flying from one person to the other. Others have just realised that they might not be the main chick and some are throwing secret fits (very secret) because they have not YET received gifts. The bottom line is that the Day of Love is almost over and this is the time when your friends are asking you what you got and you are returning the favour.
Blessed is the woman with the man who believes in THOUGHTFUL gift giving on Valentine’s Day. The man who knows that it is not the quantity or extravagance of the gift, but the meticulousness of the gift giving process. This man knows that it is not the which, but the how and why behind the gift giving that matters. Whether he gives you a R10 or $100 gift this man knows how to make it one that you will never ever forget because of the feeling you had the moment that you had it. He knows that the gift lights up certain parts of you and he remembers the light you emitted. It becomes a moment that neither one of you will forget.
Gift giving is quite complex because you are never sure what the other person would like and when they DO tell you what they would like then it takes the fun out of the process. When it is time to buy presents for whatever occasion, most people hit the panic button and go to pieces. Some people are always on point and a few of the lot rarely have an idea what to do. So when your man gives you a gift that makes you smile for WHATEVER reason you need to be very grateful.
I am one of those people who really do not expect much on Valentine’s Day because I really want to shield myself from a ‘Crisis of Expectation’. The other thing is that I really am quite difficult to please because I DO NOT WANT anything that is cliché. I want something that shows that the giver has thought about me and how I would relate to the present at that particular time. YES – at that particular time because I always change what I want according to what is happening around me.
It is my guess that most women are like me – they are tired of the usual chocolate, roses and dinner which paves the way for the “thank you sex” that the ‘gentleman’ is hoping to get. We really just want something that shows that the men in our lives have thought about who we are, what we do, what we like and what is happening in our lives at that point and time. That is all – as easy as 1, 2, 3!
If you didn’t get a present, didn’t give a much appreciated one, didn’t have a giver or a recipient, don’t you worry – there are 320 more days to go in this year. For those that successfully gave and got then you need to start showing and telling, just don’t rub in your receiving and acceptance! I’ll go first (I have been itching to Show&Tell since I got my beautiful gift!!!) … simply cannot stop grinning, he makes me want to burst with happiness – *usually!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
The river flows. . .