Thursday, 31 December 2020

My End of Year Blog Part Two

I'm thinking of that fateful day in May, when the world watched in horror as George Floyd was murdered in broad daylight in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

The incident, referred by some as a modern-day lynching, came to light when a witness posted the horrific scene on social media. Within hours, a widespread furore had spread across the world. 

I recall George's dying words, 'I can't breathe'.

'I can't breathe later became the Black Lives Matter movement slogan as they took to the streets to protest across the United States of America and indeed, the world.

Here, in the United Kingdom, people of every race, colour, creed, also took to the streets in solidarity of the cause.

'I am sick and tired of being sick and tired', I tweeted as anger rippled through me. 

I could not; still cannot fathom how another human being could do that to another. 

For me, it is not just the Africa in African American I could not ignore, but the victim could have easily have been a black man I know and love.


As the events unfolded, I gravitated towards historical documentaries. I lived and breathed the civil rights movements, the emancipation of slaves and notable figures such as Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr and the others. I learnt more about history in the space of two weeks than I did during my days in school - I wanted to understand.

Regrettably, the world is an unjust place. 

If only humanity could grasp that you cannot purposely sow seeds of hatred and create an enemy and expect to live in perfect peace. Things do not work that way.

I'm thinking of the rage. 

The solidarity I witnessed among people of all races, colour and creed gives me hope. Hope that racism will, one day, lose its traction and become a thing of the past.

Without a doubt, 2020 gave me something upon which to ponder. 

Amidst the gloom, and with no sunny beaches to escape to, I was forced to confront myself and look to the little things for joy and comfort. 

Fleeting moments that, due to the hustle and bustle of life, often go unnoticed. 

With no plans to travel, visit friends or go to the cinema, I could sit still at the end of my working week and take stock, reflecting as I dig deep into my deepest fears, desires, hopes and dreams. 

I learnt to delight in minor pleasures - going for a stroll in my neighbourhood ad exercising within my four walls' confines. 

Who would have thought the day would come when I got to drive to work in the absence of the dreaded rush-hour traffic?

With each day that God allows me to breathe, I affirm what really matters and fill my heart with gratitude. 

Each day has been about gratitude. With each day that God allows me to breathe, I affirm what really matters and fill my heart with gratitude. Appreciation for another dawn, another saved life, another chance to try. 

2020 has been a year of virtual dates. The year I saw a boy band perform in perfect harmony online in different parts of the world. 

It's incredible what we could unlock through technology. Where would we be without Zoom, WhatsApp, Teams and various social media channels? 

Lockdown gave me the gift of spending more time with my daughter.   

If, like me, you were fortunate enough to spend Christmas in the bosom of your family, then you will know what a blessing that was. 

The discovery of vaccines has brought us hope. It is too soon to tell what the future holds, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Here's to a hopeful New Year, 2021!


My End of Year Blog Part One

It is stunning how twelve months can flash by in an uneventful second. 2020 not that uneventful. It has been a year of mixed emotions for me. I have smiled, laughed, cried and felt absolute rage. 


Being able to sit still, reflecting on the significant moments, good, bad, big or subtle, is always good for the soul. For it is during these contemplative minutes that I can assimilate all my encounters. Encounters which, as I move through this life, shape and define who I become. 

Gratitude washes over me as I prepare to hail the new year on this crisp, winter day: I am alive and well, and so are my loved ones. Need I say more?  


I had hoped by the time I pen this blog, 'rona' would have relented. Unfortunately, our invisible enemy still rages.

The disease has me ruminating over the moment when, as a frontline healthcare professional, it dawned on me, that I had to don my PPE kit and get on with it. 


As nurses, we are trained to handle medical emergencies. This was a medical emergency like no other. The shift was sudden, and the fear of the unknown had my stomach, churning. 

But COVID 19 had declared war on the population, and there was a job to be done. I was not being punished but merely assuming my position. 

I recall the dragon ride and some of my colleagues' sentiments: 'The first morning, I had the shits. Went four times and in the end, I had to tell myself come on now. It was hard to sleep. I kept waking up and looking at the time. I felt like a corona animal,' one of them said.


I burst out laughing. Not funny. Not funny at all. 


'But it was alright,' he continued. 'It's not all doom and gloom; many patients recover.'

 Another felt embarrassed at first because 'I was thrown into the fire, and wasn't sure what I was doing. Also, it's a new environment, new people, everything is strange. But I always wish the patient to improve and hope my hands do something for them.'   

 'When I think about a shift that's going to happen tomorrow, I'm drained of energy. It's not about the work; I can work like a buffalo. It's the environment. But when I look around, I feel like I'm not alone. Everybody is there, and it's not like I'm working 24 hours,' said another.

For the doctors and nurses, and other healthcare professionals, it was an emotional rollercoaster. Still, we had an understanding: the job at hand was bigger than our trepidation. 

I'm outraged by the conspiracy theories on social media. The preposterous assertion that COVID 19 is a hoax. 

I hope you never have to live through the nightmare of not being able to hug or kiss your loved one (s) goodbye or attend their burial. 


Your thoughtlessness is an insult to those who stood by the roadside to clap and salute departed colleagues as they took their final journey. Oh, the rage! 

My heart swells with pride as I reflect on the courage with which we coped with our new reality. In addition to our undeterred spirit, the show of gratitude and constant reminders of our good deeds propelled us.

'I never want to see another pizza again. There is food everywhere,' a colleague quipped. I had never seen so many presents in my life. 

The #clapforthenhs soon became a ritual. All done as a way of saying, 'thank you.'


The occasional I-don't-eat-the-clapping-I-will-still-have-peanuts-in-my-bank account outburst could be heard in the hallway. (Human beings got needs, I suppose.) 


'Still, it's nice That they are doing that. It's not always about money,' said the voice of reason.

I'm reflecting, how in our workplace, messages of hope and goodwill poured, via social media and the intranet. How as colleagues, we cheered and praised one another more than we had ever done before. It was this sense of camaraderie that nourished our courage and determination.  

I would have wanted my COVID reflection to be a thing of the past, but alas, this enemy won't yield. Still, there is hope at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines are being rolled out to the population, and something tells we will soon breathe a sigh of relief. 

Soon, we will be able to make plans, travel and reunite with our loved ones. Soon, we won't have to live in constant fear. Soon, we will tell the story of how we overcame. 

Without hope, what else is there?!

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Hello Everyone...An Update!

What a ride 2020 has been, and we still got a few more weeks to go yet!

I hope you have all been keeping safe. To those who have lost loved ones to ongoing pandemic, my thoughts and prayers go out to you. As a nurse, I have seen the amount of suffering first-hand, and all I can say is, 'This too shall pass.' Let us remain strong and hopeful, doing the best we can to keep ourselves, our loved ones and fellow men safe. 

I know it has been a minute since I updated this blog. But I have not been sitting on my laurels. 

As you all know, I am a nurse, which means COVID-19 has kept me, the other first responders and all those on the frontline, busy. During the first peak, I did not have much headspace to write but picked up again once things got settled, if that is even a thing, considering the current status. 


Since my last blog entry, I have been able to pen the first draft of a romance (fiction) manuscript and am currently editing it. And I have to say that I am feeling excited about this project. Not only have I thoroughly enjoyed writing it, but I have also been able to discover things about myself during the process. Writing, after all, is a way of self exploring. Many a great love stories have been written, and with lots of similar themes, but what makes writing special is that there are stories that only YOU can write. To me, the project is exactly what the doctor ordered. 

When will it be published? I do not yet know. You cannot rush a work of art, right? But keep an eye out. An announcement may be coming sooner than we think!

Meanwhile, keep reading. Keep writing. Stay safe. COVID-19 is still very much with us.

Come back soon!

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Pandemic: COVID-19: My Travelling Experience

Aboard Kenya Airways
I remember a time when I could not get enough of disaster movies. Watching the world on the verge of utter destruction, due to an unknown disease or nuclear attack, and watching someone race against time to save humanity gave me quite an adrenaline rush. And never in my wildest dreams did I imagine myself playing a role in such a 'movie'.

Except, this is not a goddamn movie! 

Coronavirus is real. It is happening, and lives are perishing before our very eyes.

I remember the moment the fireworks tore the atmosphere, ushering me into the year, 2020. New year. New me. Great decade.

New year. New me. Great decade - yeah right!

I had already mapped out my plans, starting with my travel bucket list - Spain, Italy and Greece, but not in that order. But when an advert popped up showing cheap flying deals to South Africa as I was browsing the internet, I ditched the Europe plans and immediately booked a flight to Johannesburg. You see, it is not very often that I get to travel to Africa for half the usual price for the time of the year. Perhaps I just missed my family. 

Although a part of me believes it was Divine Providence, given all that has happened.

Corona under the microscope
For me, reality first set in during my trip to Johannesburg. I first heard about a virus wreaking havoc in Wuhan back in December. At that time, I did not pay much attention. The sceptic in me thought this was just one of those conspiracy theories or Chinese whispers (see what I did there). We get that a lot, right. So, as far as I was concerned, this so-called virus had nothing to do with me. Nothing at all.

Boy was I wrong.

On March the 5th, eleven days before my departure, the UK reported its first death. On the day I locked my front door to set out for my trip to Africa, coronavirus had just been declared a pandemic. Some countries were already closing their borders to tourists, others screening upon arrival and implementing quarantine measures accordingly.

Tools to fight coronavirus
After checking my temperature for the hundredth time, I packed masks and hand gel, ready to use when I got to the station. When I got there, not a single person in sight was wearing a mask. People went about their business, thronging at the bus stops and strolling the pavements as if news of the virus was fake news. All the while, my boyfriend was texting me, reminding me to wear a mask. Surely, he was just being overprotective if not dramatic. Everyone seemed relaxed, and the thought of wearing a mask made me feel uncomfortable. So, I kept it tucked away in my handbag. 

On the way to the airport
I had learnt, through the media and various literature on the internet, that coronavirus was transmittable through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes. On the coach to the airport, the only four passengers who had boarded instinctively sat seats apart. No one coughed or sneezed during the 45 minutes ride to Heathrow - to everyone's relief! 

Heathrow airport, however, provided a different ambience. The place, usually a hive of activity, was eerily quiet, with the few passengers waiting to board their flights to various destinations donning tight masks and keeping as much distance as they could from the next person. And it was then that the situation became real for me, and I did not need my boyfriend to tell me to wear the mask. 

The mask felt uncomfortable to wear
After I had moved on from my disappointment at the lack of health check somewhere between checking in and boarding, I took a deep breath, whispered a prayer and braced for the twelve-hour journey ahead. 

During transit, the sight of passengers wrapping scarfs around their mouths and noses and donning all kinds of masks, the empty seats between passengers, the lack of casual conversation, the intermittent coronavirus announcements via the intercom and the temperature checks offered a constant reminder that the world was under attack. Who would have thought that the day would come when flight attendants would greet passengers while hiding their smiles behind masks? But it was happening right in front of my eyes. 

I guess you could say I had plenty of legroom
On the way, I managed to capture the sunrise, the beautiful clouds and Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world. 

Click to play video - Mt Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is also the fourth topographical prominent peak on Earth, and those in the know say that it takes five to eight days at gruelling altitudes to make it to the summit and back. 

And yet, despite, all the beauty and splendour, I was overshadowed by a sense of dread. 

The United Kingdom had just become a hot spot for Corona Virus, and there I was, a frontline NHS nurse making this journey to Africa, a continent not yet crippled by the virus at that time. What if I was carrying the virus to infect my family? What if someone on the flight gave it to me? What was the use of wrecking my brain with worry? If this nasty disease were going to get me, it would no matter what. 

In the end, I resolved to leave everything in God's hands. In times like these, I find that it helps to lean on a higher power. Something to offer you comfort and hope and keep you sane. 

I never feel as though I have truly travelled to Africa if I do not cross the border to Zimbabwe. It is, after all, the land that birthed me. The place where I learnt to walk and talk. The place that made me who I am today. But on this occasion, with all the changes happening due to the virus scare, it was prudent that I remain in one place. I even considered cutting my already short trip short because every day, we woke up to changes, in travel and how we were to live and interact. When the UK announced its border restrictions, I panic set in. I needed to get back home to my daughter. My job also needed me.

Despite my initial misgivings and all the panic, I had a magical time in the bosom of my family. We were all safe and healthy, and I managed to travel back safely. The pandemic, all the adjusting, the uncertainty and caution brought the family together. We were reminded to practise gratitude and to treasure the little moments in life - watching a movie together, playing a game, sharing a joke, cooking and dancing.

For example, I will treasure this bracelet made for me by my two-year-old nephew, whose main goal during my stay was to entertain me and impress me. For me, it is my most prized possession. 

There is something about Africa that makes me want to 

sit on a rock, 
play the African djembe (drum)

the mbira, a musical instrument which is traditional to the Shona people of Zimbabwe,

strike a conversation with a stranger, a beggar by the roadside, 

or buy a special gift 

If you know, you know
Whenever I go to Africa, my homeland, I love how little things bring back a sense of nostalgia. Things such as a bar of soap or floor polish, and how they can transport me back to my childhood when I learnt not only how to talk to my elders, but also how to do the laundry and polish the floor. The time when I learnt to adapt to my environment and deal with the challenges of life. To me, the days when the world was as it should be.

Because of what Africa taught me – endurance, the spirit of Ubuntu, respecting your elders, hard work, making do with what I have - I can embrace the challenges we face today. And this horrible pandemic that has robbed us of our friends, colleagues and loved ones is a challenge which calls not only for my resilience and dedication to my job but for a positive spirit, strength and perseverance.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Brag Without Making Them Gag: The art of bragging

Brag meaning in context: Congratulate oneself

When it comes to bragging, there can be a thin line between singing one's praises and being downright conceited. There, I said it!

Image from the internet
I am all for singing one’s praises. Having worked hard and persevered to accomplish a goal or a dream, I feel it is only right that one should celebrate. Who wouldn’t?

Hiding away only deprives the world of your testimony. How will we ever learn of your accomplishments and drink from your well of wisdom and inspiration if you do not shout from the rooftops? How are we ever going to see the light if it is hidden under a bushel? And who would we admire and emulate? So, I reckon that one should blow that trumpet for not doing so would be a sin against humanity. 

But I have learnt that sometimes when we brag, we tend to ‘piss’ some people off. We face the unleashing of the green-eyed monster, and we all know how it operates - it despises you and your success and wills you to vanish from the face of the earth.

Haters and naysayers are what some call them.

Whether we realise it or not, when we brag others will gag!

Take, for instance, my example: One day, I was having a symbiotic conversation with a friend. We exchanged details about our current pursuits, and before long, the conversation turned ugly. My friend accused me of being condescending and implied I had a superiority complex. We both became defensive, and the conversation deteriorated, turning into a full-blown slanging match. The incident left a foul taste in my mouth, and regrettably, I lost my friend.

Upon reflection, I realised that perhaps we both had not spoken tactfully. In our innocent attempt to inspire one another, we inadvertently put a choke on it, causing the argument. Even though we both felt proud of the other’s accomplishments, and wanted to celebrate each other, we ended up ruining our friendship simply because we failed to brag without making the other feel small.

 So, how do you brag without making others gag?

|Here are a few suggestions for different situations:

a)   If you’re going to blow your own trumpet, then do it within context. Know your audience and stick to the subject at hand. Make anecdotes and mention some things in passing if it drives a point home, but let it be the end of it. Only dwell on it if others want to explore that point.

b)   Let others brag about you. And when they do point out the good you have done, graciously acknowledge and accept the compliment and thank them. 

c)    Strike the right balance when you brag. Usually, accomplishments come after a few failures, rejections, resistance, and so on. Do not portray yourself as a superhuman who never fails. Doing that will only undermine your hard work, the effort and determination you would have put into your goals. Showing how you beat the odds will not only encourage but inspire others too!

So, my dear friends, by all means, brag. It is your right and natural to want to do so. Besides, don't you think you owe it to others to teach them how it is done? 

But for goodness sake, do not alienate those around you. Humility goes a long way.

Saturday, 18 January 2020


‘People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” Zig Ziglar.

If you're familiar with the hashtag, #ThinkBIGSundayWithMarsha, then you know it is that place on Twitter where positive thinkers converge to spread good vibes into the world. Vibes we can never get enough of - love, kindness and peace. 

#ThinkBIGSundayWithMarsha is a place for everybody, regardless of race, colour, creed, or location. The main condition for using the hashtag and getting retweets is that you maintain a positive attitude. 

Every tweet on #ThinkBIGSundayWithMarsha oozes love, growth, positivity and embraces humanity as we know it. Everyone is encouraged to be respectful, recognising that we are all different and unique and that we all have something to give to this world. 

Through the hashtag, we become one, striving for a common goal: to encourage and inspire. No religion, political affiliation, religious views or any other private agenda separate us. Each participant at #ThinkBIGSundayWithMarsha understands that to share these positive vibes using the hashtag is also to gain massive exposure for your company, business and/or any other business.

Let's face it, the world is miserable enough; the best thing we can do to ease suffering is to spread love and light. No one is in denial here or sugar-coating anything. We are simply choosing to look on the bright side and to put sunshine where there is, in fact, rain. We all understand that bad seasons exist and always light at the end of the tunnel. That we can dream big and speak things into existence.

However, adopting an attitude of gratitude has taken a lot of learning, growing and soul-searching. I’ve learned that one way to rise above some storms, challenges and setbacks is to allow myself consistent dollops of motivation. It is an undeniable fact that if I am surrounded by those that encourage and inspire me, then I have the basics of what I need to face anything.

So, Marsha's #ThinkBIGSundayWithMarsha on Twitter is my go-to place for motivation and inspiration every Sunday. On some Sundays, I may not participate. But you can bet I will be scouring those feeds for motivation and inspiration - a nice little recipe to fill me up for the day. 

So if you're struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel, for your project, for your inner peace, or simply want to stalk some good people, whatever, search for the hashtag #ThinkBIGSundayWithMarsha on Twitter and witness the magic and the chain reaction that comes with spreading a little bit of kindness and tenderness into the world.

#ThinkBIGSundayWithMarsha creates a large force of light directed towards hope. Scrolling through the quotes and testimonies, you will get to witness the potential humanity has to simply become what this world desperately needs today - love and light.

Join the fun!

Friday, 17 January 2020

To Forgive is Divine

It is the beginning of the New Year and a new decade, and what better way to begin than on a clean slate. Set new goals - get into shape, break patterns, raise your standards; indeed, forgive those that have hurt you and move on.

Have you ever felt so angry, hurt and disappointed that you lie awake at night, tossing and turning? Blood courses through your veins as you mull over what they said, did or did not do. Your heart races, your face transforms into folds of fury at the mere mention of their name. You may even make a loud, contemptuous snort or look away at the sight of them.

 And, when they are finally out of sight, you exhale a sigh of relief, thinking – that showed them. That knot in your stomach unwind, and your body rests for you have proved a point and revealed to the person just how much you despise them. And, that feeling of satisfaction finally disperses the lump in your throat, perhaps bring back that spring in your step.

Alas, the feeling does not last. It never does. 

Before long, the anger and hurt come rushing back. Your body goes into a frenzy as it slips back into another whirlwind of emotion. The actions of your so-called nemesis begin to torment you once again. The words they uttered during your row keep ringing incessantly inside your head. Their actions or lack thereof gnaw away at your soul, and may even chirp away at your confidence. Your body becomes paralysed, robbing you of everything good – joy, creativity, gratitude - because your object of torment has now become your sole focus. It is all you can think about.

You are hurting, and that is understandable. 

Illustration by Nichollekobi

But I have news for you. 

More often than not, the person that dumps rubbish inside your heart and soul forgets about you the moment their back is turned. They go on to lead their lives and on their terms while you are left reeling, broken and debilitated. 

Emotions are necessary. For example, anger and hurt can alert to that which we do not like. By experiencing them, we get to reflect, and in some instances, they can become the motivation we need to make changes in our lives. But anger, hurt and disappointment, if not well-managed lead to bitterness, resentment and hate. 

Science informs us that anger as an intense emotion triggers that fight and flight response. The body recognises that something is wrong and releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to help it cope – your blood pressure rises, your heart rate soars, and the gut becomes compromised as the brain shunts blood away from it and towards the muscles as it positions itself for a physical attack. If this happens long enough, your body gives way to disease - headaches, digestion problems, stress, depression, heart attack, stroke, and so on. 

So how do you liberate yourself from this soul-destroying mission?

The short answer is you forgive. 

You do not have to shake a person's hand, give them a peck on the cheek or let them know you have forgiven them. Exhale and let it all go because forgiveness is about you, not them.

And, there are steps you can take, which are:

1) Realise that you cannot control someone’s actions, thoughts and behaviour. But, you can control yours.

2) Embrace your feelings and allow yourself to feel what you feel. You are human, after all.

3) Practice gratitude, because no matter how bad things get, we all have something to be thankful for.

4) Think positive and breathe life into your soul - this boosts your confidence and self-esteem and  you will need this to tackle the next stage which is;

4) Do not give value to hurtful words and actions. If someone knows you go on a rampage whenever they push your buttons, there may decide to amuse themselves by playing with your emotions. 

5) Instead of reacting negatively, turn things around. One way you can do this is by being kind. Kill them with kindness as the saying goes. A mean feat, but doable. 

6) Work on your negotiating skills; talk things through and find common ground if it is something you can agree on.

7) Last, but not the least, consider the possibility that you could be wrong about a person and their intentions. Sometimes people hurt us unintentionally, therefore, having an open mind allows us to see things from a different perspective. 

As hard as it is to do, you can forgive. The only person you have power over is yourself. When you learn to let go of that anger and resentment, you take back the reins of your life. Other people’s actions can no longer haunt you. 

To quote the words of the wise: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”