With only 7 days to go before Zambia goes to the polls, the air is tense and the stakes are at an all time high!!! As a first time voter, I am thrilled to be part of what will go down in history as one of the most important decisions the citizenry makes.
We stand at a crossroads, with two main presidential candidates (and 14 others, who I genuinely and respectfully feel do not stand a chance- atleast not this year.) As things are, it’s a battle between Zambia’s two political giants: Edgar Chagwa Lungu (ECL) the current Zambian president and presidential candidate for the Patriotic Front (PF) political party and Hakainde Hichilema (HH) the presidential candidate for United Party for National Development (UPND).
This blog is of a composite nature. I will start by sharing a compilation of various, helpful pictorial resources from different organizations who are doing the nation and universe at large a favour by sharing tips on voting dos and don’ts. I will then share a word of encouragement to any registered voter who may be feeling an ungodly wave of voter apathy sweeping in. EVERY VOTE MATTERS!
So, here goooooes:
VOTING DOs and DONT’S
WHY YOU SHOULD NOT GIVE IN TO VOTER APATHY BUT VOTE INSTEAD
For someone proactive and highly interested in governance structures at any level, I find it surprising that people willing curve in and decide to vote. In my prejudicial mind, I believe that people that show no interest are either benefitting from the system or just inconsiderate to their own needs and those of others.
However, I decided to read around some reasons why some voters tend to choose apathy over active participation and discovered the following reasons as shared by Raconteur:
Lack of interest
Lack of knowledge
Comfortability or “Safe Seat”
If you’re inclined towards voter apathy, for whatever reasons, whether listed above or otherwise- here are some reasons you can consider to change your mind:
Change lies in our hands. In a democratic state, the one time the citizens voices and powers are exercised at the highest level is during elections. This is the one chance we have to make a decision that will trickle down and affect our day to day lives. It is not right to willfully let this power slide and YET COMPLAIN ABOUT THE CONDITIONS.
Your vote is your voice and IT MATTERS. Some electorates choose apathy as they feel their vote is a drop in the ocean. Negligible and incapable of making any difference. But think of it this way, if every person had this mindset, we would have 0% voter turn out. It’s not true. Our votes are powerful. Our votes are loud and our votes are capable of yielding results.
Having said that, I will not use this platform to expressly campaign for my desired candidate. However, I will caution all well meaning Zambians to VOTE WISELY. We all need some Bally to lean on! (if you know you know).
I pray for peace and safety during these times and even more, I pray for the desires of the people to be reflected in the results without error or fault.
For my cross boarder friends, are there any similarities between our voting systems?
Please pray for our country as we go to the polls this August 12th.
My next Zambia Decides 2021 edition will be introducing our president elect and recounting how the voting experience will be from a personal perspective.
I know it’s four days into August and by now the “happy new month” sentiments should’ve phased out. But who makes the rules? and who demands adherence? (smiles in slight rebellion).
This blog is mainly just a check-in and well wishing post to be honest. 8 months into 2020 pro max, otherwise called 2021, has been far from easy for most people.
We are striving, trying and grieving continuously with only a few moments to gasp away from the mess and catch a fresh breath. Our fresh breaths look different, but I hope we are all being intentional about them. Mine are: praying, writing, music, eating … Whenever I feel the weight of the world dragging me, I turn to any of these and find the strength to fight again.
What are your fresh breaths?
At some point earlier this year, I committed to making monthly resolutions, that’s going terribly. Daily to do lists are more achievable and predictable so I bask in those. To be honest, I still cant keep track of how some months have gone by so quickly.
I feel August is a month of soaking in and introspection. As far as weather patterns are concerned, we are moving from winter to summer and in between, there’s August. With fierce winds, occasional sunshine and cold nights. If we are to use the butterfly analogy, I would say August is the cocoon, before the summer wings brighten up and allow us to fly. Well, this may not be a universal depiction, but atleast I believe that for myself and surely, it should count.
I also believe it for my country Zambia because this is the month we go to the polls !!! As a first time voter (yes, I am that young lol just kidding, I was eligible in the previous elections too – but circumstance beyond my control happened) my excitement is over the roof. I am ready to have my vote and voice heard. I will share resources on the importance of voting in separate blog and hope my country men and women turn up in numbers and do what is right.
Also, I will be graduating from my Young African Leaders Initiative(YALI) Regional Leadership Cohort soon. I have planned to do some blogs sharing the knowledge and experience acquired during the 7weeks period of evening classes and seminars. I am excited for that.
I had scheduled to share scripture on faith as the part 2 entry to the Faith Chronicles. I felt it would be befitting in laying the foundation of the series. But, something happened between last night and this morning that just churned me on this new path and I have been inspired to write and share all about it.
Short as it may be, I pray your hearts are blessed by this.
So last night, at about 10-11pm, there was a power cut at my place. By the time power was going, my phone’s battery had already almost died out and my laptop was following suit. I was not bothered though, as I was certain that power would be restored later in the night or really early in the morning and I would still be able to charge up in time for my work hours- given that we are working remotely.
My usual sleep routine includes waking up during the night for a pee or water break or just to readjust my sleep position. But almost always, I wake up during the night and continue to sleep after some time. So, I woke up- as usual. To my surprise, and disappointment, power was not back yet. At this point, both my phone and laptop had their batteries low. I went back to sleep hoping the early mornings would bring the needed power restoration.
I woke up at 6am and power was not back yet. I had a remote presentation to make at work by 7:30am and at this point I begun to PANIC. After a few minutes of wondering what I would do, I remembered I lived near my other home (my parent’s house). I did not know whether or not there was power at my parent’s house, I could not confirm because my gadgets were low, but something just told me to GO HOME. I quickly showered and headed home with nothing but, hope. By this time, I was running out of time and my presentation slot was fast approaching.
After a few minutes, I got home and found a smiling mother and house full of power. I had some decent minutes left before my meeting time too. Enough to set up, charge up and even have a hot breakfast meal.
In that moment, I was reminded of this scripture:
I find it amazing how God uses real life scenarios and situations as a stern reminder of his Word to us. In my physical moment of weary and burden, I was reminded to come home and I got my rest and provision here. I will remember to always turn to my spiritual home whenever my spirit and soul is weary and burdened. Whenever I cant seem to find solutions on my own, I will always remember to go to God and find REST.
Welcome back to my blog. I always love interacting with you all on this platform, I value your engagements.
So, if you have been reading my blogs lately, you should notice a strong leaning towards faith related blogs. I feel the more I keep pouring in, the more I just want to pour out and share the goodness of my experiences and the overwhelming love of God.
In that light, I have finally come up with what I believe will be an appropriate name for my spiritual sharings: Faith Chronicles. I will have a specific blog category for all my faith related entries. I would not want to limit it to a “series” that is time bound or seasonal as I want my faith blogs to be as inspired, spontaneous and continuous as possible. I hope to get to feature and collaborate with many people too as we share our life lessons, testimonies and encounters.
Why the name Faith Chronicles?
I will very soon have a separate post that delves deeper into what the Word of God says on Faith. It is so rich and foundational to everything we aspire for in a good Christian journey. I chose the name Faith Chronicles as I believe the main aim will by and large be for all readers to have their faith in God increased and rooted through the blogs.
Scripture in Romans 10:17 says:
I am excited to share this journey with you all.
I look forward to interacting around the Word of God with you all.
After barely crawling through the past weekend and the past few days, I have finally gathered the strength to declare war on what has proved to be one of my worst undefeated enemies over the years! Period pains!!! And yes, you guessed right, I choose to use words as they are my most trusted weapons in many wars lol.
You know I always wonder why period pains have to be soooo brutal to me. I mean, for the most, I am good citizen. I pay my taxes, I do not litter and I am a registered voter. Surely that should give me some form of immunity from the torture that comes with this bleeding pain. But no, it’s a constant fight for my life whenever Mr P comes along.
Also, I am well aware that society has tried to make conversations such as this one almost taboo. I find that weird lol. We should be free to talk about periods and the pain associated without it feeling like an abomination. The stares in the store, especially from the non-bleeding privileged gender, when I am confidently carrying my pads really baffles me. What’s even worse is how shopkeepers try their best to pack them away real quick or layer them in opaque material- it’s as if they’d rather die before their female customers are brought into community damnation for purchasing pads LOL this has to stop, please.
Anyway, I think it would be retrogressive to not turn this random rant into something more growing like, maybe… Tips on how to deal with period pains. So here goes some positivity:
My 5 tips on how to deal with period pains:
Lol. No but really, I sometimes cry to let the pain flow.
2. Hot Water Bottle
My hot water bottle (or equivalent alternatives) are really my best friends during the very trying times. I don’t know the science behind it, I never really like biology and other sciences in high school to be honest. But there should be a medical explanation for how the heat helps with soothing the pain.
3. Hot Shower
Again. Heat comes in to save the day. This really helps me. Also, the water should almost burn me for it to do justice.
4. Caaaaaaaake & Sweet Treats
*deep happy sigh* there’s something about my sweet guilty pleasures and winning the war against the painful period villains. Albeit temporarily, it really does the deeds.
5. Sleeping on the floor
See everything about this villain is about discomfort. It’s really the enemy that is out to kill. So in surrender I humbly lay on the cold hard floor and – somehow, sometimes, it does help.
Additional tip: PAINKILLERS!!! This should have topped my list if I am being honest, I would have probably been a loving memory without them. lol
To conclude this random rant, I should state that as a diplomatic person who believes in negotiations over violence and conflict, I truly believe we are underserving of the brutality that comes with period pains. Worse still, we are not afforded a platform or opportunity to negotiate the terms and conditions. Like if you asked me- a monthly text message, saying “SAFE” or something would be a better alternative. But what are the odds *cries* …. but we are not quitters! We live to fight another day lol
So, tell me dear readers, what are your effective remedies against the period pain plague? Do some of my tips above resonate with you?
For my non-bleeding readers, please share what you do to help in this never ending fight lol if you dont do anything, I am side eyeing and judging you!! Just kidding…. or am I? lol
If you have been reading my blogs for some time now, you would know one or both of these two things about me:
I love music
I am on a path to get closer to God and revive my spiritual spark – it should come as no surprise that I will be sharing more content on my Christian Journey here.
Today, a song that I have loved for a long time has been on my heart, mind and playlist. I thought I should share it here with hopes that someone may be blessed by it too.
Who Am I? by Casting Crowns:
I think I was either a teenager or about to be one when I first heard this song. It was on my older sister’s CD. Something in me sparked immediately and whenever that CD would play, I would make sure to fast forward to this song or excitedly wait for it to play.
By then I was still young, innocent and with minimal life encounters to fully comprehend the depths of the lyrics and what it meant to experience such love from God. The older I have grown and having lived through many trials, tribulations and errors- this song has become so meaningful and beautiful to me. It continues to carry so much weight as it is a reminder of God’s love for me.
Who am I that the Lord of all the earth, would care to know my name? Would care to feel my hurt?
In some of my most hurt seasons, I have felt the love of Christ move in closer than ever and just consume me. It is in such seasons that I have been reminded of the friend I have in Jesus.
When I was younger I had little or no exposure to the type of pain that had me second guessing alot of things- my worth, life, value and so much. The older I grew, life encounters really pushed me to dark places and it is in those times that I would be guided by the loving light of God. Imagine the marvelous grace, to have the creator of heaven and earth that available and present – proof that the Word does not lie when it honours Him as a present help in times of need.
Who am I, that the eyes that see my sins would look on me with love and watch me rise again?
Who am I that the voice that calms the seas, would call out through the rain and calm the storm in me
The amazing thing about God’s love for me is how even in moments and seasons, such as this one, when I feel unworthy and undeserving to be called His own, When the enemy tries to remind me of everything I have not done right and make me shy away from the presence of God. His eyes look at me with LOVE. The type of love that covers a multitude of sins. They type of love that is intentional about watching me rise again. Unmerited favour, uncommon grace. I always stand amazed in is presence.
And you told me who I am…. I AM YOURS
As Sinach rightly puts, I know who God says I am…and because of this realization I walk in power, liberty and victory.
Thank you all my loves who are journeying with me and praying with me.
And if anyone reading this does not have a relationship with God and yearns for one, please do let me know. I am happy to be your friend in faith and prayer.
The Covid-19 pandemic has mandated several transitions in people’s lives. From personal choices like diet plans, hygiene measures and personality adjustments for people especially extroverts. To impersonal options, or consequences, such as the closure of businesses, restructuring of scheduled events, shortening of guest lists and loss or modification of jobs.
Undeniably, the employment and unemployment talk during the pandemic is one conversation that needs to be had, over and over again as it has affected so many people in different ways.
I am honored to add my perspective to the topic through this collaboration blog with my fellow incredible blogger, Lebogang who is South African based. She calls her blog the Sanctuary of Greatness and no truer words could be said. Her aura undoubtedly exudes greatness, do visit her blog and read her work: here
Whereas I will discuss what employment in a pandemic has been like, Lebogang will tackle unemployment in a pandemic.
We start with my perspective: EMPLOYMENT IN A PANDEMIC
How I got my job
I am currently working as a tax/legal consultant for an outstanding organization. I got my job in 2019, slightly after graduating from my undergraduate LLB program. It was after a series of unsuccessful applications in various firms and organizations. Till an opportunity came up through one of my best friends, who encouraged me to “give it a shot” and I did. The wait between sending the application and getting an interview call was very strenuous as I was not sure whether this application would also be unsuccessful. Luckily, the call came and I was scheduled to be interviewed. A few days after my very challenging interview, I was offered the placement. I have since been learning, growing and enjoying the journey from then till now.
Working under the lockdown andhow I coped
Before the pandemic, our office had a lot of habits that unknowingly formed our culture. Every morning, I would walk up to my desk and settle in. This would be followed by making breakfast, usually a cup of tea or coffee as I caught up on emails and read through the newspaper. Our breakfast sessions were enjoyable bonding time, from cracking jokes about sugar preferences to sharing what the other person packed and giving hot takes on trending social, economic and political topics.
Another common activity that was part of our office culture before Covid was celebrating wins or goodbyes through our “Take 5” mini parties. During the Take 5 parties, food platters and drinks would be bought after work hours and people would relax from the day, dance, sing along and share a good laugh.
When Covid-19 Pandemic rolled out, the entire firm enforced firm wide remote working as a safety measure and to also promote flexibility. It meant effective immediately, all members of staff were to work from home. A year later and this remains a firm policy.
At first, I thought working from home would be undeniably cool, I mean… no traffic jams, or wearing heels and “office clothes”. I must admit, the first few weeks were enjoyable. However, it eventually dawned on me that all the in-person bonds that formed our culture would be gone.
Further, with setbacks such as load shedding and terrible internet network, working from home was proving to be more cumbersome than imagined.
Another downside to remote working for me was having the same environment for most things. My bedroom was my office and class as I had online lessons at the time too. I got stressed out as the boundaries between leisure and work were blurred.
I continue to learn to maintain a balance of my worlds. Some days are easier than others.
Gratitude for being employed in these trying times
Despite the few challenges that I face in adjusting from the old way of working to the new normal, I recognize and count my blessings. I am eternally grateful to be employed in these difficult times, where people were being laid off or having their benefits readjusted. I do not take it for granted. It is for this reason that I always strive to perform at my best and not abuse the blessings God has given me. I count it all joy.
What could be done to eradicate such a highrate of unemployment
In my country, Zambia, a lot of factors may be cited as causes for the high unemployment rates.
From the private sector perspective, I believe the question is mainly that of capacity. Digital transformation and consequent closing of physical offices have led to the laying off of workers, such as office orderlies. Further, the automation of most procedures has seen technology replacing people that would do the manual tasks. To eradicate unemployment in the private sector, I feel fiscal and tax incentives need to be improved to allow for growth of the companies which would in turn increase employment capacities and salaries would not be looked at as an unnecessary cost.
From the public sector perspective, I believe it all goes down to good governance. A good governance structure or system would allow for policies to be put in place to firstly curb corruption which takes away money that may be used for developmental projects. For instance, if more industries were to be opened, it would capture and create jobs for people in both the formal and informal sectors. Further good governance would allow for appropriate channeling of resources and creation of financial support models for Start ups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Words of love and encouragement
To everyone employed: Firstly, if you are part of the health care system and have been one of our frontline workers, I WHOLEHEARTEDLY salute you. Thank you for your grace, dedication, and sacrifice. Thank you for saving lives. Secondly, for everyone who is an essential worker showing up in offices despite the pandemic, whenever you feel overwhelmed, please be reminded to count your blessings instead. Thirdly, to everyone learning and trying to adjust their lives around remote working. Stay in there. Find breathers and ways to reduce burnout that is increasingly high from feeling confined in the same environment. Above all, stay grateful for the blessings that you have.
To everyone unemployed: I know it can’t be easy. We live in a world where the cost of living keeps escalating, making it hard to keep up. I am Christian by faith, and I believe in the Lord making all things beautiful in His time. Your season will surely come, and it will surely be astonishing. I am sending you love and prayers. I believe Lebogang’s perspective below will be very insightful and helpful. Remember you are not alone and you are loved.
Lebogang’s perspective: UNEMPLOYMENT IN A PANDEMIC
As a young girl, I had dreams which kept me focused on my studies. I was always an A-student. When I finished my tertiary studies, I never thought I would ever join the statistics of unemployed youth in South Africa. I felt so helpless. It was as if I disappointed that little girl in me who had big dreams, whose sky was no longer the limit but a surface. Disappointments from people are easy to walk past through. At least you have something to shift the blame to. The distress is worse if it is self-inflicted. It is hard to deal with feelings of self-disappointments. That little girl in me might not be proud of what I have become, but she is sure proud and content with how much I fought to be where I am today. I am just grateful to God because I am not where I used to be.
The dynamite Nsatu and I had joined heads to pen down our experiences with (Un) employment in the pandemic. I met Nsatusile during the WinterABC2021 challenge in June. I loved reading her stories. It was her authentic self that drew me to her blog, I kept checking her work daily during the winter challenge. Check her incredible blog and experience her many skills and talents. She is not only a creative writer but a whole qualified Lawyer.
We agreed that we would tackle both angles of the coin. From unemployment to being employed and the pecks which comes from both sides. Similarities, differences, and the overall sense of humanity whether you are employed or not.
My own experiences on being unemployed.
I had my fair share of actively seeking employment but was unable to find one. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions. Just when you finish your studies, super excited to work for what you studied. I could not fight back the excitement of earning a salary, having my apartment, and taking full responsibility for my family. Having been raised by a single parent, my earnest dream was to see my mom staying home, not working. I wanted to take full responsibility for her and my siblings. The reality of life proved me contrarily. I found myself working jobs that I did not study as. That was not even the case. The case started when I did not even get any employment to begin. I applied for every post I saw on the internet, social media, and word of mouth. People would notify me whenever there were any opportunities, and I would faithfully apply. But nothing came through. At times I did not even have data to send out emails. Now the hustle shifted from looking for a job to hustling few bucks to buy data bundles.
How unemployment affected my mental health
There are a lot of slurs attached to it. It is like watching your own life being flushed down the drain every single day when you wake up in the morning. Sometimes you question your sense of living. By the grace of God, I never had suicidal thoughts. Whenever people speak about their unemployment seasons, suicide is often mentioned. It gets to a point where you question your ‘why’ of living. For me, it affected my mental health. I fell deep into anxiety. The thing with anxiety is that it induces you to direct your focus, into the problem, not the solution. Instead of exploring possible doors, your mind starts playing games with you and makes you believe that your life is over. You begin to think that you will amount to zero in life. Fear starts slithering itself in, and next thing you are deep into the den of lions which you do not know how you got there.
I began to isolate myself. Being in the midst of people gave me severe despair. I constantly gauged myself with those around me. I felt like I did not fit in some spaces. Isolation became my only rescue. I am naturally joyful to be around, so my family started to notice some changes in behavior. I got disgruntled quite quickly, which was unlike me. By the grace of God, I have the most loving family who covered me with love more than anything. To them, I was still a sister who had the potential to achieve anything I wanted. Whatever they saw, it did not quite make sense to me. See, sometimes we love to be ‘Mother Theresas’ in our families. We put too much pressure on ourselves unnecessarily, only to find that they love us the way we are, not for what we have and accumulated. Yes, they wish the best for us. It does not mean when we have not achieved anything, would not love us. They would still show us love and care.
Do you know why sometimes we go through anxiety and all the discomfort which comes with being unemployed? It is because we compare ourselves with our peers. I have emphasized this quite a lot of times on my blog about the comparison. It is very dangerous, and it can cost you happiness. I saw most of my peers already having jobs, depicting cars, and others already getting married with baby number two on the way. I started having panic attacks. I spent most of my time on social media, depressing myself even more. I got used to congratulating people and thought I would never make it in my life. Comparison is toxic. If we were not comparing ourselves with other people, we would never feel as though we missed out on anything. Because we would be focusing on our own lives. Let me warn you of the effects of social media. Comparison is induced by the mirage of lifestyles we see on social media. I am not saying you should stop using social apps. Limit your time if possible. We use social apps for marketing, advertising, and all the other benefits. So it can be advantageous to us. Manage your time on social media and guard your heart.
How to deal with negativity that comes with being unemployed.
I realized that we are all facing something in our lives. Unemployment does not begin with me, and it will not end with me. My emotional state became a priority. I got tired of all sorts of negative emotions. People perceive unemployed people as lazy, and I believe that unless one goes through the season, you would never understand the emotional trauma which comes with being unemployed. It is even harsh if there are responsibilities and bills to settle. You apply and knock on every possible door, but nothing comes up. I want to encourage you to stop being hard on yourself. Most of the people got retrenched and lost jobs during the pandemic. You are not alone. Appreciate yourself and celebrate life the best way your know-how. God has plans for your life, it is not over yet.
Have a vision
It was a vision that kept me going. I knew what I wanted and where I was going. That is why I was able to remain focused. Jot down your vision and start cultivating it. You know too well what you are good at, develop your skills, and start working. Do not wait for things to come into place. Start wherever you are, with what you have. If it is a business, do not wait to have capital. You can start with what you have as you grow.
The unemployment season of my life taught me to focus on my purpose and deepen my relationship with God. When everyone else was busy with the hustles and bustles of this life, I had more time to study the word of God and pray. My faith became my priority. God developed my patience and taught me to put my confidence in Him. At the time, I did not see it, but I realized after I passed through that phase that God was right there with me holding my hands and directing my paths.
Unemployment is real. Especially now during the pandemic, people got retrenched, and others lost their jobs. It is only fair to assist where we can and be there for each other. If you are unemployed, do not be afraid to start from the beginning. Build yourself with anything and grow into it. Your employment is in your mind and of course, your hands. Use your skills wiser.
Thank you for reading our perspectives on this very delicate and important topic.
Please share what your personal experiences have been like and on which side of the coin you fall.
Thank you Lebogang for being amazing to collaborate with. Looking forward to many more works together. 🙂
It’s a Monday morning as I write this letter- around 7am on July 19th 2021. I am currently sitting at my study desk, I have been up for the past 4hours, getting some work done and listening to sermons and worship.
I do not know the direction this letter will take or whether it will be published or left in drafts. But I am compelled to write, so I will.
You’re currently at a stage in life that is very paradoxical. Things are going extremely great and extremely tragic in a frighteningly simultaneous manner. The past years haven’t been any easier too, but you are a tough girl- always have and always will be.
In this space, you have committed to re-ignite your relationship with God and I couldn’t be more proud of you. I believe there are seasons that can only be understood, survived and appreciated in the presence of the Lord. Infact, I believe ALL seasons can only be understood, survived and appreciated in the presence of the Lord.
You have been writing more consistently this year as you promised to do at the beginning. I am proud of your commitment. I am especially proud of the perseverance even on days when you would rather cave in and allow the wave of writer’s block to swipe over.
As you lose and find yourself in words, I hope letters such as this one serve as the needed view of the transition you have had when getting to the place you desire to be.
With God by your side, nothing will be impossible (Luke 1:37)
I pray you look (read) back on moments such as this one and see growth, resilience, humility, learnt lessons, love, joy and peace in the journey.
I pray you learn to appreciate both the highs and low.
I pray you understand that it’s okay to be flawed and imperfect as there is not one without sin but it is God who forgives and cleanses us.
1 John 1:8-10
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar, and His word is not in us.
I pray you learn from your mistakes and be intentional about being better.
I pray you resist the urge to redefine who you are or dilute your identity and self perception with the words of others.
I pray you remember you are who God says you are- above all else.