You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.Maya Angelou
Young or old, youth or elder – if ever you feel like “you’re nothing”, or someone makes you feel that way – remember this Maya Angelo poem. You are everything and God’s got you 🙏!
This one is for my eldest daughter, Alivavine, where do I even start? Perseverance! That’s what comes to mind when I look back on her journey. She skipped a crucial year in high school due to age requirement and as tough as it was and has been since then, she sure has persevered.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4 NIV
She persevered when life threw some of it’s ugliest moments at her! Her faith in God unwavering. I know there were moments when she felt God was so far away, like when my mum, her bubu, passed away last year (2021), and many more situations, yet she held onto her faith and continues to do so, Amen 🙏
This extract from one of Maya Angelou’s infamous poems “Still, I rise” beautifully sums up Alivavine’s life journey thus far. It’s tough being a woman, let alone a black woman – attending institutions and being exposed to environments where gender or race or both and more, discriminations are deeply entrenched inspite of the efforts of many good people and organisations out there, who work tirelessly to counter these issues.
Still, I Rise!
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Those are her stories to share someday, whenever she is ready to do so.
We are so proud of and happy for Alivavine who graduated with her 1st degree in December 2021. Then earlier this year (April 2022), she was conferred her second degree! Perseverance ❤️ Congratulations Ali, on completing two degrees – BA ICT & BA Data Science from Western Sydney University 🎓.
Two doors closed, another opened with a world of opportunities, and we wish her the very best life has to offer – it won’t be all glittery, as she already knows.
To Alivavine, her siblings, our in-law/grandchildren and any other person out there (young or old), especially girls/women, please continue to persevere, be YOU and DO NOT EVER let anyone make you think or feel otherwise. Nor change you to make themselves or others feel better.
Dia una mo: a dikadika negadia ai ta moalemu; badina be dibada hisihisi ese haheauka e havaraiamu, bona haheauka ese manada e havaraiamu, bona manada ese helaro e havaraiamu.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:3-4 NIV