My inspiration comes from my great grandmother, she’s one of the veins connected to my heart.
My great grandmother was born in a large extended family, with a fair number of boys and girls. Like any other typical traditional homestead, responsibilities where shared in their family. Girls would often collect fire wood and prepare dinner for the family, while the boys would be responsible for milking and herding the cattle. My grandmother was too extra-ordinary; she would often mange to do both, because she had possessed both the qualities of her father and mother.
When she was still a teenager, she had experienced one of the saddest moments that could happen to a young teenager, her mother passed away. The sudden passing away of her mother had left her completely shaken and broken. After sometime, one of the mother’s sisters could not bear seeing her suffer emotionally, so she had decided to take her away from her siblings and to raise her as her own in a new environment, surrounded by new people, who would not remind her of her mom. The family was however completely different from the one in which she was born, she was now introduced to a family in which she is the only girl. Surprisingly enough, she had already got used to living with her brothers and so she never had difficulties adapting to the new family. Very often she would join the boys in herding the cattle to the cattle post, which often involves walking 50 kilometers with nothing but a bottle of water and traditional bread wrapped in a basket with leaves from the traditional Makalani tees. They would often walk for days, seeking accommodations at various homesteads belonging to good samaritans. Her role at the cattle post would be leading the cattle in the afternoons to nearby water points and to gather cattle back to the post in the late afternoons. She saw absolutely nothing wrong with doing all these, as she believed work made people stronger, instead of breaking them down.
One of the bravest moments at the cattle post, was the day she got confronted by a female ostrich after passing by her nest. She had never seen such a huge bird, afraid and shaken , she ran and climbed in a tree and tied herself up in the branch with her favourite belt made of cattle skin, she had gotten a while back from her father. Another brave moment she narrated to me that I will not forget, was the day in which she and one of the guys from the cattle post came in contact with a two rhinos which were being chased by wild dogs. Afraid and don’t know where to go, they hid under two burrows, not knowing what might be in those burrows , she had told the companion to avoid going under the burrows with their head first and only with the legs, because they where unaware of what is in those burrows.
After sometime while in her twenties, she had moved back to her biological family. Her father was such a proud man, because she had come back completely transformed. She had become a beautiful girl who not only posses strong traditional values but has strength and could carry out any type of work at home. Her ability to work drove most of the village boys crazy but her dad told her, she deserved someone of her calibre, a hardworking young man who possesses the same qualities as her and that he will look for one for her. Unfortunately her dad had passed away without forefeeling his promise but, so she later married my great grandfather. I did however not find him alive but I found the stories that described him and the beautiful memories he had left behind.
My grandmother crafted me in a masterpiece of herself. Growing up with her, she had transferred all her characteristics to me. Although I am still working on being brave, if I have to be confronted by an ostrich today, I would probably just freeze and forget about the tree. This has been always her dream, to grasp me into a vibrant young man. I remember at 5 years old, she would make me go feed the dogs late in the night and make me accompany my big brothers in the afternoons when herding the cattle to pasture land. She made sure I learned all the basic work of manhood and I’m not left behind by anything happening around the house. Referring to all the ordeals she overcomed, from being emotionally broken and facing all sort of dangerous situations at the cattle post, she tells me that she managed to overcome all of those because she had great respect for everyone and that she had amazing faith in God. Thus, she made sure I too possessed that, making me greet all the elders of which many I never knew and making sure I pray to God every single night before I go to sleep.
The life she endured and the way in which she brought me up gives me strength to overcome anything in this life. Her life story and the way she brought me up is of great inspiration to my life. She will remain one of the veins connected to my heart and I will never forget the impact she has on my life.