Sunday, 1 December 2013

My Monthly Nursing Articles....Why I Write Them!

If you haven't worked it out by now I'm a nurse by profession. A Recovery Nurse to be precise and my official work title is Nurse Theatre Practitioner. As is my custom each month I produce an original nursing article based on my experiences as a nurse. With all its challenges I do find my job very inspiring and satisfying. What I experience as I interact with my patients gives me a wealth of information as a writer.

When I'm in hospital not only am I nursing the sick and the vulnerable, I am also handling real people from all walks of life and I'm often amazed at the depth of lessons that I learn from all these people. I am not at all suggesting that my experiences are always pleasant, far from it. Some of the experiences are indeed painful, negative and quite daunting to say the least but nevertheless I learn and grow from them. This is the reason why I believe that one's experiences are one's greatest resource and of course those of others which are also learnt through experiencing what others have also experienced! I don't know if this makes sense as I'm now confused but anyway, these experiences produce a chain reaction from which one continues to learn and grow! Nursing is just a part of my experiences in life and I like to tap from that and I reckon great writing works will be produced in the not so distant future as a result of my hands on experience as a nurse (that's all I'm saying for now ;-).

For this month's nursing article I'm focussing on the ridiculous, the mundane and the bizarre! I shan't say more as pre-emptying could be a disaster. All I will say, however, is that if you've never been in a hospital environment, watched Holby City/St Elsewhere or read Nurse Nancy then the article could be a real eye opener. Therefore, keep your eyes peeled for my next nursing article.

To read the rest of my nursing articles just click on the links in the E-zine resource box to your right!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Thursday, 7 November 2013

My Upcoming BBC Radio Berkshire Interview....

Are our black women angry? Do they walk as if they've got a chip on their shoulders? Are we fed up with the media stereotyping of black women? What is the way forward for our black women? What are some of the women role models in our society? Join me this Sunday from 8pm till 8:15pm as I join BBC Radio Berkshire Presenter Bridgitte Tetteh to discuss these issues. We will also be discussing my published works as well as my upcoming book. Join me then!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/berkshire/content/articles/2008/11/28/radio_berkshire_contact_details_feature.shtml

Another glowing review of my book by Gerry Dorrian - http://300wordtheses.blogspot.co.uk/

Monday, 4 November 2013


A Life Steered

'A life Steered': go to Amazon
I ordered A Life Steered after reading a review of it on author Bertha Mukodzani’s blog by Deswell Chitewe, who champions Zimbabwean authors.
A Life Steered begins with a distressing scene in which the main character’s hard-drinking father finally throws her mother out of the house after many fights. From such a beginning I could not have imagined that the novel would go on to be an uplifting testament to the strength of the human spirit - demonstrating that while our beginnings are always with us, the wings of our hopes await.
The travails of Zimbabwe are expertly understated through the course of the action and are braided with signposts non-Zimbabweans will be able to orientate themselves by. Not that you need to be from Zimbabwe to appreciate A Life Steered: when you focus down on a small group of people and look at the different ways they choose to overcome their obstacles, you never fail to find the universal interplay of suffering and hope, and which one triumphs is often due more to how people approach them than to random interventions of fate.
click to go to Bertha's website
What struck me particularly is that A Life Steered is set at a time when girls and young women were looking beyond the traditional lot of females in Zimbabwean society, not least the complex politics of polygamy which, whenever that practice arises, seems to favour men. Heroine Sandra’s glass ceilings come not from corporate structures, but the society Bertha describes so lovingly and with such humour. In the UK I don't think we've been totally successful in maintaining what was best about our traditions while we removed our glass ceilings, and would be interested to hear what Bertha thinks. Perhaps food for a future novel?
A Life Steered is Bertha Mukodzani’s (right) first novel, and I was gratified to read on her blog that another one is in the pipeline. I look forward to following her career and to collecting her works.

 Gerry Dorrian
 300 words


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The day I overcame the monster...glossophobia....My Woman of Virtue Presentation.

I attended a women's conference a few weeks ago and I had the pleasure of presenting an article that I had written about being a woman of virtue. This was a very special occasion for me as I had to face my fear of public speaking (glossophobia). It was just what the doctor ordered. My heart raced and adrenaline pumped through my veins but I faced the monster and it felt good! It was even better as I got to do it among a very warm, loving and receptive audience and it's the boost that I needed. The following is the article that I presented which I've had to tweek a little in order to suit the wider audience although the message remains fundamentally the same. Be inspired!

http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/news-opinion/bertha-mukodzani-you-woman-virtue-6256596

For the full speech on video visit https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151724571608457&l=4006809075584279329.


Friday, 27 September 2013

"Heads we get married; tails, we break up." A Short Story By Bertha Mukodzani

     “Heads, we get married; tails, we break up.” Louise said tentatively.
      There was silence as James, her boyfriend of eighteen months, paced towards the bar situated in one corner of the living room where they had sat, discussing their plight. He got to the bar and stopped.
     “Are you kidding me? Are you willing to bet everything on a darn coin?” His face contorted as he ventured a look at her.
     “Well, if we can’t reason this out I reckon we should leave it to fate and in this case the coin will decide what that is.” She insisted.
     James’s eyes glazed as he dipped his hands into his pocket. He pulled out a shiny fifty pence coin and made a tight fist.
     “Flipping coin. Amazing isn't it?” His fist tightened. “Tell me Lou, how did we end up here? What kind of people have we turned into?”
     Louise glided her tiny figure towards the bar where he had perched himself on a stool next to the bar table. “The kind that is terribly confused about life.” She said reaching for his face, sliding her slim fingers tantalizingly along his facial contours. A move that sent a tingle down his spine.
      “Not now Lou. This is as serious as it gets.” He grunted.
     “Only you look so tense.” Louise said apologetically.
     James unclenched his fist to reveal a deep heptagonal groove on his skin. “Shit!” He exclaimed as his brain finally communicated the throb in his palm. “Sorry. I just think it’s a tough call that’s all.”
      “You’re telling me.”
     “Okay, heads or tails it is. You do it. I can’t.” His voice was resolute.
      He threw the coin on the table, peeled his weary body off the stool and walked to the front of the bar. Louise watched him for a while. With all his macho exterior, she’d since realised that he was just as sensitive and weak as she was. He would sooner bury his head in the sand than face life altering decisions.
     “Sure?”
     James shrugged, scanning the shelves inside the bar. Within seconds he had spotted a bottle of brandy. In times like these he needed something, anything to numb his jolting heart. Whichever way he looked at it, somebody was going to get hurt so he poured himself a generous measure in a glass. He gave Louise a glance, sighed and in one nervous gulp he emptied the glass of its contents.
     “Aaarghh….brrrr. I am sure.” He said shaking his head as the liquid slid downwards, burning his insides.
     “Okay. Here goes.”
     Louise flipped the coin with her index finger, tossing it into the air. From the opposite sides of the table they both watched anxiously as the coin spun its way towards the ceiling. For a moment time stood still as they flashed.
     Louise had met James in a local bar one night and had fallen in love in an instant. The sequence of events had left no doubt in her mind where she stood with him. If only it were that simple. She had a husband, Martin, a pillar of community in his own right; a dedicated father to their three boys. Since he’d taken office with the local council, spending most of his evenings engaged in meetings, Louise had felt neglected and for months she’d ruminated over their slipping relationship. Martin was no longer the man she’d married and her attempts to mend the holes in their marriage had been futile. Over time she’d simply fallen out of love with him. It had been months since the two had shared a bed. Louise had obliged Martin’s demands not to expose their boys to any kind of dissent between them and the happy family charade had continued until she’d met James. “We've got to end it.” Louise had told her lover during one of their clandestine meetings. As usual James had talked her out of leaving, insisting she was better off without her husband.
     James hadn't been spared the worry either. The clause in his father’s will had been precise. He was to marry a baptised Catholic girl if he was to inherit his fortune. The wine fields, his mansion, the fleet of cars as well as the millions tucked away in the bank were to be his as soon as he’d said ‘I do’. There was no chance in hell that his mother, who had been made executor of the will, would approve of Louise, who, among other things, hadn’t set foot inside a church’s door all of her life. “Over my dead body!” James could almost hear his mother barking at him.  
     The coin spun into the air a few times before it took a tumble, making its way back towards the table.
     “Well, come closer then. This is it.” Louise gestured towards James.
     There was a clunk as the coin hit the table. It swirled for a few seconds before resting flat on its face.
     “At the count of three we both look.” Louise said. James nodded, edging closer to her.
     “No regrets right?”
     “None whatsoever.”

     They embraced. Their hearts thrummed as they shifted their necks towards the table. A few moments passed as they absorbed what the coin had revealed. Their hearts still pulsating beneath their chests, they hesitantly tore away from each other to contemplate their sealed fate. 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

A comprehensive review of my book 'A Life Steered' by Deswell Chitewe

Deswell Chitewe is the founder of verenga.com and ZimBookshop.com both of which are online bookshops specialising in books by Zimbabwean authors. Also a Certified Accountant by profession. Here's what he had to say:

‘What I really struggled with after reading this book was who to send my coffee bill to! When reading this book I made several cups of coffee to sip on while enjoying this book but they all went cold because I was so engrossed in the topsy-turvy story of our heroine, Sandra. This book is a depiction of a sequence of real life events that occur in Sandra's life which range from broken family, friendship, relationships, death, inheritance, love, suicide, tradition, determination and so on. All these events are topped with sprinkles of light comedy.
 Bertha's style of writing is simple yet sophisticated enough to take the reader on an adventurous journey in Sandra's shoes. On top of the themes already highlighted, there is no shortage of characters to help the author elucidate the account of Sandra. What makes the story realistic is that the character of Sandra is someone who one can easily identify with. She, Sandra, can be described as an average girl/woman going through realistic life experiences that many of us will have come across in our own lives. She is far from perfect and the quality that differentiates her from the norm is that she is determined to achieve her goals irrespective of the catalogue of events that steer here off course. Sandra is not super-human as we see her falling pregnant out of wedlock and the scene she gives up on life in the midst of her struggles, among others. However, she bounces back and continues to chase her goals.
The most touching moment from me was when Sandra goes to meet her mother after all the turmoil in her life. The book begins with the mother walking out on her children and alcoholic husband leaving Sandra and her 2 siblings to fend for themselves. Sandra feels abandoned by her mother after the parents split up and throughout her life our heroine struggles to understand the reason why her mother completely cut ties with her family. Sandra never stops searching for an answer and she gets the opportunity to ask her mother the difficult question at the end of the book. Speaking of mothers, I was quite surprised that the author chose to portray Sandra's step mother as an ally in her journey through life. One would have expected the step mother to add to Sandra's misery which makes the reader feel a bit guilty for expecting a step mother to be totally horrible!

This book is not all about sad and serious issues but there is an adequate serving of comic relief. You cannot help but chuckle at the author's portrayal of the bus trips through rural Zimbabwe and how the Bus Conductors treat innocent paying passengers. The father's antics after a drink are also something one can laugh off. If I was a fly on the wall in the lobola scene I would have laughed my wings off at the father's impatience and the “encounter” with the mother who acted like a money-hungry debt collector! The scene where teacher Sandra is summoned to the Headmaster's office to “identify” the love-letter-bearer-boys from her lover was just the funny, and uncomfortable, destruction the story needed.

In my view, the biggest triumph for Sandra was overcoming all the obstacles in her way to achieve her professional qualification as a Teacher, which is the profession that she is passionate about. It was not an easy battle but she managed to turn that spark, her husband's support, into a flame. This teaches us all that as long as we are focused on our goals we can overcome all the obstacles that life throws in front of us. Just like the cover of the book that shows a sunrise to support the theme “Never give up”; because with every passing night there will always be a brighter day.



Monday, 19 August 2013

Dare to dream?


Ever come across that girl or woman who wants to be the most classy and elegant woman on the block? Then there is that man who sees himself as the next president of United States? Well, nothing at all wrong with having dreams and being ambitious. You can dream any dream that you want. You may even dream of being the best wife, teacher, musician ever celebrated, the best film producer ever to live or indeed the world's next best-selling author *wink*. No dream is too big or too small. After all our dreams are tailored to suit our needs, personalities, environment and our traits. You are there, a self-motivated and focused human being. The kind of person that doesn't let life's challenges stand in their way. You're the sort who grabs every opportunity with both hands and you've got what it takes. And if you've got the resources, family and friends who support you and will you on your way as well as that greater being on your side then I reckon you're half way there.

But my dear doves, I reckon, it all hinges on one thing and one thing alone- the fact that you should never compare yourself to anybody. Indeed, let them be your source of inspiration. Admire them and let them guide you even but when you start measuring yourself against them you're on a slippery slope to failure. You'll get to the bottom faster than you can say achieve. I'm not at all suggesting that you should settle for average. By all means find your passion in life, follow your heart and seek that which satisfies you. After all, where is the fulfillment if one doesn't unleash their full potential, or at least try? But you'll do well to remember that in so doing you should only strive to be the best that YOU can be. Settle only for YOUR best. After all, your best is all you can ever be. This, I believe, is what keeps us truly motivated. It gives us true contentment in our lives and enables us to walk in true gratitude. So yes, by all means be ambitious, reach for the stars and aim to be the very best - but only YOUR best!

Just saying....


Sunday, 11 August 2013

The dreaded writer's block...or is it just a myth?

It hasn't been at all a good writing week for me. I found myself dealing with the dreaded writer's block or is it all just a myth. There are those like Jon Gingerich who believe that there is nothing like the writer's block and he gives a scientific reasoning for it here http://litreactor.com/columns/the-myth-of-writers-block. After reading the article I'm inclined to agree.   

Before I knew what it was I used to wonder what on earth was wrong with me. Why was it that at one period in time I was on a roll with my writing and the next I couldn’t come up with a single word? No matter how many times I scratched my head nothing was happening. And then I came to realise that the words are always there embedded somewhere within you but you just have to learn how to get them when you're faced with these supposedly dry spells. I do appreciate doing this can be the most frustrating experience that a writer can ever endure but not at all impossible to achieve.
Your heart is willing for you to write and yet your mind resists. You can't come up with so much as a sensible sentence. You beat yourself up because it is not the standard of writing that you're used to and your brain becomes slower than the fingers tapping on the keyboard. There is simply no inspiration coming forth. The more the hours tick by, the more frustrated you become. You have that novel to finish or a great article you’ve been meaning to write and yet nothing is forthcoming. You’ve simply shrivelled up!

So what do you do when the dreaded writer's block strikes or should I call it myth?
Well, I can only speak for myself and what has worked for me is to:

a)      Write through the trash and somewhere in there I tend to find gold dust. The worst thing that a writer can do is stop writing altogether so it's better to write something than not write at all.
b)       Redirect my energies. Instead of focussing on the novel or the article that is getting me frustrated in the first place, I write something completely different. Somewhere during the process I find my way back home. 
c)      Instead of spending hours staring at the computer, praying and willing for the words to come I refocus my energy. It is time for me to read that great novel I’ve been meaning to read but never found the time because I was on a roll with my writing. Who knows something inside that novel could be what I need to inspire me.
d)      A walk in the park or sitting outside in the garden also does wonders. It’s amazing how the mind is triggered just by watching people going about their business. A bus speeding past you, a bee buzzing in your face, kids kicking a ball or someone’s laughter or voice could be just what you need to get those juices flowing again. This is the reason why it is crucial for a writer to always carry a notepad because when those words come they come fast but once they're gone you can never retrieve them. Not quite in the same way anyway.
e)      Forget everything and just sleep. That’s right, sleep. Sleeping relaxes the rattled mind. One of my best inspirations have come to me in the stealth of the night, when there isn’t a sound and I have to get up there and then to write and I never have to change a word afterwards! 

So I’ve learnt not to beat myself up when my creative juices dry up on me because I know the words are in there somewhere. I just have to master how to retrieve them and now as I write about the experience I'm dealing with it! 

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

What is a woman worth?


Even though I’m one of them I've since concluded that when it comes to matters of the heart women are the most gullible creatures to walk this planet! The minute a man utters those three little words (I like you/I love you) we're sold. Feelings of euphoria grip us and it's nothing short of being addicted to a substance. Suddenly it becomes a catharsis and we wonder how we ever lived without it. Well, excuse me for craving a bit of tenderness! My Bible tells me that there is nothing greater than love and it is that which binds us humans together.

But what is it about being in love that dispels reasoning? It doesn't matter which way you look at it, the sequence of events are always the same. Boy meets ‘sensible’ girl, boy woos her, hunts her down like a hungry wolf. And I'm not talking about a text here and there or the occasional  phone call. The more the girl resists his advances and/or shows/pretends she's not remotely  interested, the more the boy sharpens his hunting tools. Again I will put myself on the chopping log and admit that there is something about this phenomenon that excites the girl too. In her mind she's built her ideal suitor and if by any chance he meets her ideal, the girl begins to see herself in another light. Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined being desperately sought after by 'the man of her dreams' and even though she plays hard to get, she knows she definitely wants to be caught at some point!
   
At this point I’m reminded of a famous poem I once read in my vernacular ‘Kana wamutanga musikana’. What this poem demonstrates is how the girl meanders around her feelings for a boy and how shy and uncomfortable she gets. She will look at the sky, pluck grass off the ground, anything but admit what she's really feeling. It takes a gutsy boy to finally drag it out of her. That's how shy and uncomfortable the girl is portrayed in this particular poem and being as traditional as I am I don't think there is anything wrong with that. She's just being a woman!

This trailing continues until he catches her. It's not long after that that the direction of the wind changes. Again I'll put myself on the line and say half the time all sense deserts the girl once she's caught. She begins to like the boy and perhaps more than she should at this point. Again nothing wrong with that as I believe in some degree of human vulnerability. However, there is a lot to be said for liking someone too much. Tables seem to turn the minute you yield to the boy's charms. Granted he will give you the all famous honeymoon phase and it can last for a few weeks, months even as the 'man of your dreams' showers you with sweet nothings and flowers; he calls you every five minutes just to hear your sweet angelic voice. He doesn't know how he ever lived without you; at least that’s what he tells you. Of course you believe him. You're a normal woman, a natural romantic which is perfectly fine by the way. That kind of romance, I reckon, feeds our soul and it doesn't end there. The love feeling that we get produces endorphins and you can just tell by the glow of our skin, something which our closest friends will notice and tease us about!

Then bam the unthinkable happens. The calls and text messages start tailing off. The silence is deafening. You check your phone endlessly thinking that perhaps you may have missed his call when you went to the bathroom. You check it again just to make sure the battery is charged. All of a sudden you become neurotic. Why hasn't he sent that text? Is he losing interest? This is the time 'Mrs Sense' really vacates the building. You start over-functioning by sending him endless text messages in the hope that your actions will secure your place on his mind and indeed in his heart. When he doesn't respond you send another one asking him if he has seen the one you sent before the one you’re sending now. By this point you’re in the stalking mode if not already turning into a ‘nut case!’  As if that isn't clear enough in your head that the man you’re hunting down isn't yet ready to hear from you, or worse doesn't want to hear from you, you send another one this time apologising for bothering him. Surely he’s got to call you any minute now. After all you've apologised for bothering him, right? Guess what, the phone doesn't ring. Not a sound. And when this happens, you start doubting yourself. Has he gone off me? Is there something wrong with me? Something about all this sends the woman into a complete destructive mode. I mean what the heck? I reckon men have a lot to answer for! 

And when the prodigal son finally returns, hours or worse days later, you jump for the phone as if your whole life depends on it. You’re grateful that he has finally decided to call you. The moment you hear his voice your universe is restored. Nothing matters as long as he has finally managed to squeeze you in. What about the fact that it has taken him this long to come back to you? OK, let’s give the guy the benefit of doubt and say that perhaps his grandma was hit by a bus and he had to spend a couple of days in hospital by her bedside or perhaps his mobile phone got swallowed by his dog, therefore, didn't get your text messages. I mean come on. In this day and age of technology, with all the various modes of communication? No one is that busy and it only takes a minute or two to send a quick text. Or better yet if the dog ate his phone couldn't he Facebook you, come to your place or send his maid or something? We all know how determined men can be. I’m reliably informed that if they've got their eyes on something, they will move mountains to get it. You won’t have to wonder how he feels about you because he won't keep you guessing. If a man knows enough about you and isn't wooing you, courting you then he’s not your suitor. The famous saying goes that the bloke 'is just not that into you' or he isn't attainable. Whatever that means.

 My sweet doves I am still very much a believer and I reckon every woman deserves a prince in her life. If he isn't treating you like his princess then chances are you aren't his ideal princess. You can't talk your way into a man's heart. What that means is no amount of texting, calling, crying or pleading on your part is going to change how he feels about you. If this has happened more times than we care to remember perhaps it's time to review our so called 'types'. This is done by being true to ourselves and by being authentic. It's the only antidote to bitterness. After all we can't afford to paint all men with the same brush!

I'm not Dr Phil, just a writer.





Monday, 15 July 2013

Discouragement - the ugly monster!

 ‘It’s simply too hard’, ‘you can’t, you won’t’, it’s ever so impossible’. Have you ever heard these words being thrown at you? Sometimes words don’t need to be uttered. It could be a flicker of the eyelid, that sarcastic look or laugh. It is enough to knock you off your head. You begin to doubt yourself and what you’re doing. Suddenly all that you thought was within your sight seems unattainable. Your self-confidence and your self-esteem lessen as the utterances keep coming. Yes, I’m talking about discouragement. The kind that has a way of clawing its way into your brain all the way down to your soul, leaving you crushed and utterly confused. Not the good kind that one subtly throws around to protect you from yourself.

Naysayers. We've all met them and some of us even have them as friends or worse our family members. They thrive on thwarting any dreams, hopes and ambitions that you may have. They won’t rest until every drop of zeal and drive has been squeezed out of your bones. Well, the good news is we’re all aware of this monster called discouragement and we should always be on radar to recognise its ugly head. The more it spews its venom at us, the harder we should press on.

More often than not this monster recognises the fact that it lacks the motivation or the drive to want to do anything itself, therefore, it seeks to recruit more of it's kind. When life throws hurdles and hardship, it chooses not to jump and it wallows in self-pity; letting adversities and challenges get the better of it and is afraid to run towards its fears. If anything, adversities should be that little push that we need to spur us on towards our goals. Furthermore, challenges should be an opportunity for us to develop strength and discover who we really are and be the best that we can be. 


In my previous blog I spoke about playing the cards that you’re dealt. The message behind the blog is that one shouldn't let anything stop them in spite of the circumstances. The saying ‘when life gives you lemons make lemonade’ holds true. Indeed, we've got to acknowledge the fact that sometimes the road can be bumpy with many pot holes around which we have to meander but the fact of the matter is with the right kind of attitude we can. So when the monster raises its head, ready to pounce, hold fast and stand your ground and let it watch you realise your dream! 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Sport and me....


So Andy Murray won the tournament today. Phew! Or should I say congratulations? Talk about having a good day. Not just an ordinary day, but a ‘summery’ one in every sense of the word. I can almost picture the queen whispering ‘one has done the country proud’ to the dear Duke!

Lord help me if I ever utter the words ‘I’m not a big fan’ amidst those more patriotic than I. I’ve never been an avid sport follower to say the least but I’m often fascinated by those who live and breathe sport. Ask any wife whose stance is similar to mine and they will tell you how much they dread any sporting season for they are turned into the so called ‘sport widows’ as their efforts go intentionally unnoticed.

So what is it about sport that gets people this much excited?

A philosophical view given by Lipsky (1981) declares that the Sportsworld is a lived world, just like those of literature and theatre which is highly charged with human meaning. Apparently, just like a story, this Sportsworld has its own plots, scenes, characters and settings. Of course it is common knowledge that each kind of sport has its own unique language which according to Lipsky gives the world some kind of cohesion.
Even though I’m not into sport I’ve since acknowledged the power of sport in bringing people together. In the words of one of the great man (Nelson Mandela) ‘sport has the power to change the world and has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.’ Powerful words to say the least!

 Conversely, one has to admit that sport also has the ability to tear people apart. Where there is a winner, there is always a loser. Someone is left heartbroken and with their dreams shattered. What can one say? It’s a tough competitive world out there and one has got to lose with dignity – we hope. However, dignity doesn’t always prevail in the sporting world. I’ve heard racial chants being thrown around, seen people beat the hell out of each other because of sport. People have been known to lose big money on the bookies, some have refused food for days and Lord knows there are graves in the name of sport!


 So, today as we celebrate Andy Murray’s victory, I hope to God there will be no broken teeth because of it!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Greetings from Wales- Singing and me

Greetings from Wales.

 Today the singing was out of this world. I swear I thought the Lord Jesus was going to descend from heaven and scoop me away from the troubles of this world!

I love singing. Boy do I love to sing. If only I had the voice to go with it life would be much simpler! But then again if my choir master can put up with me, who am I to deny myself of this incredible feeling?
Having been a member of my church choir for a few years I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that wild horses couldn’t stop me from singing even if they tried!

So what’s up with the singing?

We sing to praise.
We sing when we’re happy.
We sing when we’re sad.
We sing when we’re excited.
We sing when we’re hurting.
And at times we sing to mock, when we’re confused and unsure about what it is that life is trying to tell us.

Science informs us that singing releases endorphins known as ‘feel good’ chemicals. These chemicals give us a euphoric high which brings about some kind of satisfaction. So when you sing or listen to music, Mother Nature is trying to dig you out of a hole or indeed reinforce that joy which is already in your heart. I don't care where you're from there’s something about music that reaches to the depth of our souls. A universal language understood by all and one of the things that makes us special beings and at times unite us.

So put on your favourite music and have a sing-along. Boyz to men, Little Mix, Oliver Mtukudzi or the Gaithers' Homecoming. It doesn't matter what you're into. Let’s keep those endorphins flowing in our bodies. I intend to!


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Stolen innocence!

The young lass tried in vain to fight him off. Scratching the skin of his face and kicking him in the groin.
     The more she fought, the harder and deeper he thrust into her. He did it for a few good minutes. Not that she was counting. All she wanted was to get out there. Away from his hungry torso and his tobacco tainted breath.
     She felt him jerk and then he gave a groan. That pronounced he had finished.
     ‘Wow, you young ones are the same. Sweet as ever!’ he said peeling himself off her. The lass shivered uncontrollably as she clasped onto what was left of her blouse. She watched him fasten his trousers zip, praying he wouldn't decide to put her through the ordeal once again. She couldn't bear it. She felt dirty enough as it is.

     Sex was supposed to be a sacred act between husband and wife. An act of love. She had heard her aunt say……. (to be continued)

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Think before you leap....flash fiction


Tick tock, tick tock. The clock ticked. It was at exactly two minutes to eight when she heard car wheels crunching her driveway. Her heart gave an anxious leap as she stood up from her bed. She glanced into the mirror, turning sideways to examine the look of her dress on her. As usual she looked perfect. But there was nothing perfect about this night, she thought. Within seconds she heard footsteps growing towards the door. It wasn't long before the door -bell erupted into a familiar ding dong sound. Thanks to her daughter who had customised it that way. She had grown into it but as it went off that evening there was something about its sound that spelt disaster. She stood at the top of the stairs staring at his silhouette by the door. There was no doubt about it. He had come to settle things with her and within seconds he would ring the bell again being as impatient as he was. She had a good mind to turn around and pretend she’d heard nothing but it was too late. He had seen her car parked in the driveway and she knew he wouldn’t leave until he’d seen her. She gave a huge sigh and tip toed down the stairs, each step bringing her closer to sealing her fate.....

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Nurses' Week Blog



Before you call it dirty!

There are some who say that to criticise the nursing profession is like throwing your grandma in front of the train! It’s no secret that nurses are overworked and underpaid and yet they keep at it. So what is it about nurses that set them apart from anybody else?

Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole – these were just names to me. Who would’ve thought that one day I would get it?

For those who aren’t in my shoes here’s a snippet of a day in a life of a nurse.
It was one dreary morning when my alarm clock rang. It was that time again. I gave a heavy sigh as I stretched out to silence it. You’d think I would’ve gotten used to the darn thing! The way it seems to ring the minute I close my eyes to sleep. The first few minutes are always the hardest. Nothing a cup of tea can’t fix though!

The day was no ordinary day. Having snowed heavily the night before I was fully aware how the treacherous the roads were going to be. I didn’t think twice about making the cumbersome journey into work. My heart gave a flutter of excitement riddled with a hint of excitement as I contemplated what the day would bring. As I negotiated the slippery roads to work, I managed to cast my thoughts aside for a minute.

With such fondness my mind wondered back to the time I was growing up in Zimbabwe. Back to the days when I used to watch my neighbour in her nurses’ uniform as she trod the dusty road at the back of our house on her way back from night duty. I didn’t understand the story behind her tired looking eyes. I understood her uniform though. That white belted knee length dress which flattered her figure and the brown shoes and stockings to match. The white starched cap pinned at the back of her head was just the icing on the cake. Perfect, just perfect. There was something about the nurses’ uniform that drew me in. Needless to say it didn’t surprise me when I found myself spinning out an essay during an English lesson one morning about how I wanted to become a nurse when I grew up. Now some years later, having undertaken several occupations from teaching to cleaning as well as my endeavours as an author, I have come to realise that being a nurse is in a league of its own.

Florence Nightingale (1820-1920), dubbed the ‘The Lady with the Lamp’ was a celebrated English nurse who believed that she had been called by God to be a nurse. In 1855, during the Crimean War, The Times purported that Nightingale was:
‘a ‘ministering angel’ without any exaggeration in these hospitals, and as her slender form glides quietly along each corridor, every poor fellow’s face softens with gratitude at the sight of her. When all the medical officers have retired for the night and silence and darkness have settled down upon those miles of prostrate sick, she may be observed alone, with a little lamp in her hand, making solitary rounds.’
Sufficing to say that I’m no Florence Nightingale, but over the years I have discovered something about the nursing profession or indeed vocation as others would like to call it that only someone in my shoes can begin to comprehend.

I once had the pleasure of meeting a certain lady who had accompanied a relative to hospital for minor surgery. As I stamped the ward floors rushing back and forth, the lady walked up to me and towered besides me. I couldn’t help but notice her legs in pointed leather high heels positioned next to my flat black shoes. She rested her slim hands over her tiny waist and I found myself ogling at her long well-manicured nails. All of a sudden I was aware of my own slightly chirped natural nails. I scanned her sleek outfit as my eyes wandered up to meet hers. ‘Excuse me nurse,’ she said her red lip-sticked mouth creasing into what I could not decide was a smile or a sneer. After giving me the run around, tending to her demands, she was frank enough to express her dislike of the nursing profession. ‘It’s a dirty job, I couldn’t do it,’ she said. I couldn’t blame her. I understood where she was coming from – at least I thought I did.

Back to that snowy day.
The emotional roller coaster began the moment I stepped through the hospital doors. A young mother lying in one of the beds told me, as I popped pills into the pot, ‘Do you know they said I have less than 3 weeks to live?’ I opened my mouth to speak but words failed me. What do you say when confronted with such a situation? All I could do was hold her hand and listen. As I looked into her eyes I could tell that was enough. She didn’t need to know how sorry I was because she knew. I didn’t need to preach to her about how there was the possibility of heaven because she knew that too. As the weeks rolled on I watched her deteriorate. And when she finally breathed her last breath, I cleaned her cold, lifeless body and made a pot of tea for her grieving young husband and kids. Good damn cup of tea! As if it could fix anything. This was but the tip of the iceberg.

Don’t get me started on how ungrateful some patients can be. Nothing you do is ever good enough. I know what you’re all thinking. Nurses always say ‘I’ll be back in a minute’ but they never come. Well, excuse me but nurses are expected to do a hundred and one things at the same time. Doctors barking instructions, bells ringing from all directions, patients falling out of bed not to mention the helpless sweet old lady who needs to be fed! God knows there isn’t enough of us to go around at any one given time.

I regard myself as one of the lucky ones having to work in an environment where resources aren’t so scarce. My heart sinks whenever I throw away unused oxygen masks or broken vials of morphine. I toss and turn in my bed in the stealth quiet of the night as I spare a thought for the nurse in the third world. The way she has to watch her patients die of ailments which a course of antibiotics can easily cure. Malaria, measles and pneumonia are still major killers in the Sub Saharan Africa and yet in some countries these aren’t that much of a threat. My heart always pierces when I remember how my step mother died of an ailment she could’ve easily been cured of. A lump engulfs my throat as I recall the sequence of events leading to her death. As soon as I had learnt of her ailment I rushed to the post office and deposited some money. Being a nurse I understood how precious time can be when faced with a medical emergency. I wanted her to have the best care there was and as soon as possible. But alas there was no equipment to properly diagnose the disease. It came as a rude awakening that no amount of money or knowledge could’ve saved her. My mind twirls endlessly at the realities of life in the world that we live in. Not fair, so very unfair. As I do my rounds on the ward I know that I cannot afford to let things get the better of me. I have to keep my emotions in check. After all that’s what a nurse does.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. My job is not without its rewards. The adrenaline rush that I get in ‘touch and go’ situations cannot be explained. The satisfaction that comes with being able to nurse someone back to health is priceless. It is such a privilege to sit there and listen to a complete stranger pouring their heart out during their darkest days or indeed happiest days. So if you see a twinkle in my eyes it is because of that grateful patient who takes my hand every now and then and whispers a ‘thank you dear’ in my ear.

Mary Seacole (1805-1881), a Jamaican nurse, also known as Mother Seacole, was another great lady known for the way she nursed wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. I cannot begin to imagine what she experienced during her time in her conviction as a nurse. As I read her story, the way she sacrificed her resources, time and energy, I suspect she must’ve felt the same kind of satisfaction that comes with being able to touch people’s lives in such a way.

So each time I step through the hospital doors, I do it with a song in my heart. I have no idea what each day will bring but all I know is there is something to be had at the end of the day. I’m still young in the profession and have a lot to learn but something tells me that regardless of where life takes me, I will be able to look back at my nursing experience with great pride. Because that’s what it is- a job to proud of!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The antidepressant...


     ‘Have you taken the Amitriptyline that I gave you to try?’ Pauline asked her daughter.
     Rose rolled her eyes. ‘I told you I’m not taking those things. Dr Chamberlain prescribed them for you not me. Nothing wrong with my head.’
     ‘Oh, yeh. I guess that makes me a nutter!’
     Rose shrugged in defiance to her mother’s hand holding out the sunset yellow pill to her.

     They say if you give time a chance, there is nothing it can’t heal.
     Pauline used to believe it but as she sat next to her daughter, scrutinising her from the corner of her eye she wasn't sure anymore. Seven years was long enough by anyone’s standards. She knew she was doing the right thing. Some things needed more than just time.

     Seconds later a voice could be heard through the intercom.
     ‘That’s us dear.’ Pauline said signalling to her daughter to gather their luggage.
     It had been announced that the Mbuya Nehanda Boeing 737 was boarding at Gate number 21.
   ‘We better get moving. It will take us at least fifteen minutes to get there. With my arthritis I can't walk very fast.’ Pauline said.

     Harare International Airport was a hive of activity. Black, white, coloured and yellow folk, they all scurried in different directions. If this country is that bad, why are all these tourists still flooding in? Rose wondered silently as she studied each and every face heading towards the opposite direction.
     
    The two women weaved their way impatiently through the crowds, Rose in front and Pauline hobbling a few steps behind.
     ‘This is the answer, you will see.’ Pauline said through gasps of air.
     ‘But London mother? Don’t you think it’s a little extreme?’
     .....................