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Stressed? Try screaming

Reblogged retrospectively in light of Day 14 of the #30DayAfriBlogger #BlogTemberChallenge #MyAfricaMyWords on mental health…

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Screaming has been known to have a cathartic effect on people. A loud, shrill, intense scream gives one a sense of release and leaves the screamer feeling at peace. Screaming is no doubt, a cheap outlet for pent up anger, energy and tension.

A few years ago, as students my friend and I discovered a simple way to manage life’s problems. Rather than bottle up stress or down tablets, booze or whatever options fellow students chose to drown their sorrows, we developed the habit of taking long walks at night, to a place where we could scream. Yes, we would just scream!

Once in a while, after a build up of stress, we would take our crazy, screaming walks, let out the steam and live happily until it was time to scream again. We would find an isolated spot in Harare’s concrete jungle at a time when traffic had subsided…

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5 Benefits Of BlogTemberChallenge Halfway Down the Road

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It’s been a number of days of blogging in the #30DayAfriBlogger #BlogTemberChallenge #MyAfricaMyWords and halfway through the challenge, I must say it’s been fun, although it hasn’t been easy.

Life is happening concurrently as I blog and in between hustling, eking out a living and fulfilling social obligations, I’ve tried to live up to the challenge and blog daily.

My journey has not been smooth.

Thankfully I’ve managed to blog on most of the days – say 90 percent of the time – and I can count the few when I didn’t.

On some days I’ve had to cheat a little and post on the following day but I guess it’s better late than never, right?

Here are five things I’ve enjoyed about the journey so far:

1. Being pushed out of my comfort zone.

I’ve had to write about diverse issues, some of which I’m not familiar with. On some days, the topics have been fun but time was not on my side, on other days the topics have been tough and  not what I would ordinarily write about.  There have also been days when I really felt I couldn’t do the topics justice without spending some time on research, yet I didn’t have time to research. I guess that’s the essence of the challenge and it’s certainly stretched me to go the extra mile in my writing.

There have also been days when I just loved the topics because they were close to my 💓 and I wrote from my heart. Naturally music is one of them.

2. Reading the work of fellow bloggers has been beneficial.

I’ve read to learn about our cultural diversity, get exposure to various writing styles, glean new ideas, get inspiration and be a part of fellow bloggers’ journey in this blogging challenge.

3. Developing the discipline to write daily.

I normally write when I feel like it, but I gave up that choice when I signed up for the challenge. Some days I was just not in the mood to write anything, but once I got started inspiration came from somewhere deep within me I guess. There have been times when I’ve had to write just before midnight to catch the daily deadline.

4. Growth. Personally, I feel I’m growing as a blogger.

I imagine my writing has improved. To start with I’ve noticed my posts are shorter, which indicates that I’m learning the art of brevity. The number of people who are reading my blog has also increased and I hope and pray that momentum will continue. The challenge has also come with benefits such as practising writing daily.

5. The support, encouragement, camaraderie and sense of community that comes with being part of this family of bloggers.

Conversations have been started and new relationships built over this short period. I look forward to continued engagement with this great community.

That being said, I intend to continue with the challenge and hope to blog daily.

Picture source: http://bit.ly/2f1Q6fj

 

Life as I live it…

Day 13 of #BlogTemberChallenge #30DayAfriBlogger #MyAfricaMyWords

Researcher

A mentor of mine once told my friends and I that she used to pray for a job where she would talk for a living and get up every morning to do nothing but talk!

“I love talking and I could do it all day, so that’s the sort of job I’d like to do,” she often said.

Well, she certainly got what she asked for, a talking job!

Armed with a medical background and her passion for talking, she was hired as a trainer and traversed the globe to “talk” to various groups of people about HIV and AIDS. This was some time ago, when the virus was new, information limited and the death toll high.

Emboldened by seeing someone else’s dream come true, I did some soul searching and asked myself what I wanted to do. I figured since I love writing, I too could write all day, so I prayed for a job where I would do nothing but write all day.

However, I didn’t just want to write, I wanted to write for an audience and to make a difference. If someone could read what I wrote and either learn something from it, or feel inspired to take action to improve their life, then my work would be done.

I, too, got what I asked for, a writing job. Not only once, but repeatedly over time as I changed jobs. My entire career has revolved around writing. So, with my background in journalism and passion to impact lives combined, I started writing for particular causes and that has been my life for over a decade.

So, on a typical day, I interact with different people, obtain information from various sources then write it in such a way that it makes sense to the ordinary person. I enjoy breaking down a seemingly complex issue so the average person can understand how it impacts their life at individual and community level. For example, what makes you vulnerable to certain diseases and how you can protect yourself and your community at large over time? It seems like common sense, but only if you have access to information. We live in an unequal world, so not everyone has the same access to what seems basic.

I’m often amused by people who dismiss writing as a “soft science,” without realizing how writers like us, make their “hard science” more accessible and practically applicable to the majority of people.

I find my work very rewarding when I realize that someone, somewhere has read something I wrote, applied it and benefited from it, or when a policy I have written consistently about is changed. Although I acknowledge that it takes a lot to bring about change, I also realize that every effort, no matter how simple, contributes to the final outcome, just as grains of sugar contribute to the spoonful and add to the taste of food.

Knowledge is powerOver years I have written about diverse issues ranging from constitutions to technology and diseases. I enjoy the flexibility that comes with my work and the fact that I can apply my skills to various causes. I also enjoy breathing life into the mundane by tackling seemingly boring issues, and making them interesting enough for people to actually pay attention. That is both the joy and challenge of my work.

Essentially, I learn and share, then hope that armed with knowledge, together, we will make the world a better place!

Picture sources: http://tinyurl.com/y9gndxjv and http://bit.ly/2vUxPqT

A Human Work of Art

Day 12 of #BlogTemberChallenge #30DayAfriBlogger #MyAfricaMyWords

Human work of art.png

Yesterday you asked
If I was done painting myself
Unsure of that question
I did not answer
But today
I can confidently reply
Yes, I was done
Painting myself for the day
Today is a new day
I will paint myself again
It’s a daily ritual
I associate with my femininity
Daily I paint myself
For when I look in the mirror
I see raw beauty
Like a skilled painter
I enhance it
Armed with my make-up palette
And my face as the canvas
I sit before the mirror
And start to paint
Like spices and condiments
Add flavor to food
My paintworks
Enhance my beauty
A little foundation
To smooth the complexion
Some shadow on my large eyelids
So they look like awnings
Over the windows of my soul
A dab of lipstick
To enhance the pout of my lips
A touch of blush
To make my cheeks flush
Some tweezing of the eyebrows
Into a permanent arch
A brush of powder
For that polished dry look
And finally some spray
To make the look stay
And I’m done for the day
Now I can go out
For all to see
This human work of art
That is me!

By Matilda Moyo 29 August 2010
First published on: https://www.worldpulse.com/en/community/users/matilda-moyo/posts/11508
Picture source:http://bit.ly/2h37bpH

Tying The knot in Zimbabwe

Day 11 of the #BlogTemberChallenge #30DayAfriBlogger #MyAfricaMyWords
zimbabwe-traditional-dance-wwwpachikorocozw
Marriage, in any society, is always exciting. Today, I’ll share a little about our customary marriages, informed mostly by my Karanga culture.

Although cultural practices have evolved over time, the practice of lobola (siNdebele) or roora (Shona) has withstood the test of time, although it is sometimes highly misunderstood.

Roora is usually paid by the groom to the bride’s parents as a token of gratitude for raising a wife for him – that’s how it was explained to me. The amount charged varies from place to place and has related sub-charges. One of the related charges that intrigues me most is “matekenya ndebvu” literally translated as a charge for “tickling the beard.” This amount goes to the bride’s father. Whoever came up with it was very clever because children generally play with their dad’s beards, particularly when he is speaking. I guess they are fascinated by the movement of the mouth and beard. When my young nieces touch my brother’s beard, I tease him about how he’ll need to charge extra for matekenya ndebvu when they get married.

The practice of roora has been highly misunderstood. In some quarters it has been misconstrued as buying a wife. I do not think any human being can ever be bought, nor do I think human life can have a monetary value.

Some have also misunderstood the practice to mean the groom is paying for the bride’s virginity, so he should not be charged if she’s not a virgin. None of those propounding this argument question the groom’s chastity.

In the past, lobola/roora could be paid using cattle, labour or implements such as a hoe. The bride’s parents were usually considerate in their demands. However, in modern society, some tribes have abused the culture, demanding cars or high value assets while milking the groom dry before he begins his new life with the bride. I know a few ladies whose grooms opted out and chose to marry someone else because the lobola/roora being demanded by the bride’s parents was too steep. In some cases, when the charges are too steep, the bride can secretly assist the groom by contributing. However, the bride’s family should never find out as this would be tantamount to “kuzviroora” or marrying herself. I have a relative or two who were stigmatized because of that.

Once lobola/roora has been paid, the couple is considered as married. However, most Christian couples, which is the dominant religion in Zimbabwe, prefer to wait until they have their white wedding before they start living together as a married couple.

Photo source: https://www.musicinafrica.net/magazine/traditional-dances-zimbabwe

Talking music…

Day 7 of #BlogTemberChallenge #30DayAfriBlogger #MyAfricaMyWords

Sax player
A saxophonist.

 

Music, is not only the food of the soul, but represents one of the highest forms of emotional expression for me.
Wish to know what’s trending in Zimbabwe? I’ll probably tell you that Jah Prayzah is probably the most happening musician at the moment. I could also tell you about a few of his tracks. I’m likely to inform you about Zimbabwean musical maestros like Oliver Mutukudzi, and educate you about Victor Kunonga, who happens to be one of my favourite local musicians. However, that’s as far as it goes.
You see, my taste in music is not determined by trends and in fact hasn’t been for some time now.
Strangely, after I turned 21, music for me stopped being about trends and became more about mood and expression.
I’m of the melancholic choleric personality disposition, by implication this means I’m predominantly melancholic – the moody, emotional and romantic type (see http://bit.ly/KrvuLz). That’s probably the most apt personality description I’ve ever come across. Naturally, this influences my taste in music.
I love jazz…
I could listen to it all day. I particularly like instrumentals because the absence of lyrics means I can slot in my own words and give the tune my own meaning. I thoroughly enjoy that flexibility and the music takes on new meanings, depending on how I feel and what I’m experiencing at that moment.
I’m deeply moved by the sound of the saxophone, I find it intensely emotional, although that does not mean I’m not moved by other instruments.
Because of the meaning I attach to music, I tend to stick to specific tracks and musicians that best express my emotions.
For melancholics like me, who like to sink deep into ourselves, there comes a time and mood for expression and nothing expresses feelings more than jazz.
My long-held top 10 loves include:
1. Alone in a strange place by Sipho Gumede – this is my all time favorite.
2. Fikiswa also by Sipho Gumede – I don’t know the story behind this track, but I’m sure it’s no coincidence that this was also his wife’s name. I presume it was composed for her and wow, I think that is the height of romance. A man, using his creative to express his love has to be the ultimate expression of love.
3. Natural thing by Earl Klugh – is extremely soothing and has a calming effect on me.
4. Tropical Legs, also by Earl Klugh – always takes me back to my childhood.
5. Mr. Mokoena and Walk of life by Jimmy Dludlu – strangely lift up my mood. I’d play these jovial tunes while driving to work on dreary mornings just to give my mood a lift.
6. Love is on the way by Dave Koz – communicates hope for the single. The song seems to hold a promise that something good is about to happen.
7. June 16th by Jimmy Dludlu – that date happens to be marked as the Day of the African child annually and the historical meaning of this heartrending song should not be lost on anyone.
8. Shamwari by Caeser Kajura
9. Song for papa also by Caeser Kajura – is very sentimental and triggers emotional thoughts about fathers.
10. A year ago by Kenny G – particularly appeals to me on rainy days. I don’t know why I associate it with rain.

I could go on and on about my favorite jazz tracks and tell a story or two about some of them, but for today I’ll stop here.

Photo source: http://bit.ly/2gQjIwC

Three Gems Nestled in Zimbabwe

Day 6 of #BlogTemberChallenge #30DayAfriBlogger #MyAfricaMyWords

Zambezi
The Zambezi River.

Planning a holiday and wondering where to go? I suggest a visit to the magnificent Zambezi River between the southern African countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Although the Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa, there is some value in visiting it because of its link to the majestic Victoria Falls and Lake Kariba.

 

The Zambezi is the longest east-flowing river in Africa and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. The Victoria Falls, locally known as Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke That Thunders) in Tonga, is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world. With a width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft) and height of 108 metres (354 ft), the Victoria Falls is the world’s largest sheet of falling water. Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume. A double curvature concrete arch dam in the Kariba Gorge of the Zambezi river basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Kariba Dam forms Lake Kariba.

Victoria Falls
The majestic Victoria Falls.

 

Apart from looking at these diverse and majestic water bodies, you can take a boat cruise in the Zambezi River and Lake Kariba, or go bungee jumping over the Zambezi and white water rafting along the river. You can also go for a game drive and enjoy the country’s wildlife variety. While in Victoria Falls, assuming you’re on the Zimbabwean side, you’ll also get to see one of the world’s best known baobab trees, reputed to be over 1,000 years and you can also tour a crocodile farm.

Kariba Dam
Kariba Dam.

In addition to admiring the beauty of these water bodies, one can also derive some psychological benefits from visiting them.
Some time ago, the company I worked for underwent a change of management, which shifted the work environment from happy and healthy to gloomy and dreary, while the family set up we’d enjoyed became a dog eat dog scenario. Everyone was stressed. This was one of the rare instances when my blood pressure shot up. In addition, to the stress my mind was clouded, I could not think my way out of the situation.
I happened to travel to Victoria Falls and while there I went on a boat cruise with friends. It was a beautiful early morning cruise. A tranquil ride in the mighty Zambezi River.

 

I don’t know what on earth happened while I was in that water, but one thing is for sure, when I got off that boat, I was a different person. The stress was gone (I even tried to feel it but couldn’t). I guess somewhere along the river, my sorrows drowned, or perhaps the seemingly endless body of water had a calming effect. I went into the water stressed and re-emerged exhilarated and rejuvenated, with a very clear vision for a bright future.

I remained in that jubilant mood for the rest of the month, during which I returned to the same old work environment with a new attitude. That same month, I went back to the drawing board, plotted my next move, secured a new job and resigned from the old one. I guess the superstitious would say I was cleansed of some misfortune in the river – there’s a religious sect in Zimbabwe that actually practices the ritual of cleansing bad luck in rivers and under waterfalls so perhaps there’s some psychological insight to that belief.

So, as you plan your holiday, do consider these three gems all nestled in beautiful Zimbabwe and shared with our neighbor Zambia.

Photo sources: Zambezi River http://bit.ly/2gHIoaA, Victoria Falls http://bit.ly/2w874P8, Kariba Dam http://bit.ly/2w93JPW

Facing the future

Day 5 of #BlogTemberChallenge #30DayAfriBlogger #MyAfricaMyWords


The future beckons
Calling at me
Bidding me come
Into what lies ahead

Show me what’s in store
I plead with her
For a little peek into more
Of what lies ahead

Blocking my view
She says “No!”
Life gives no preview
Of what lies ahead

Life only gives choices
Experience and wisdom
Together with resources
To face what lies ahead

So, certain of yesterday
Unsure of tomorrow
I stand in today
Wondering what lies ahead

Fear tries to tug me backwards
Caution says tread carefully
But curiosity pushes me forward
Towards what lies ahead

Aware of what I’ve accomplished
Desiring a better future
Knowing what can be achieved
I walk towards what lies ahead

Staying where I am is not an option
Neither is going back
So I proceed with caution
To face what lies ahead

I try to be confident
In the choices I make
Hoping I’ll have no regret
When I see what lies ahead

Try as we might
Who can tell what the future holds
No one has insight
Into what lies ahead

Some things I’ll never know in advance
And even those who love me
Must leave it to chance
For me to learn, whatever lies ahead

So armed with hope
And my faith in God
I step and grope
Into what lies ahead

Trusting that God is in control
And my life He holds
I cling to His invisible hand
And step into the future untold

By Matilda Moyo 17 February 2009
First published on http://bit.ly/2xMyADV
Photo source: http://bit.ly/2wCPVAw

A lesson from experience: 5 things to never lose sight of…

Day Four of #BlogTemberChallenge #30DayAfriBlogger

Indeed experience is the best teacher, and life is a series of lessons. Some lessons come through observation and others are learnt from personal encounters. Regardless of how the lessons come, it’s important that we learn, grow and move on.

Throughout my interactions with people from diverse backgrounds, I have learnt that no matter what comes my way, there are things I should never lose sight of.

1. Your core values and belief system.

Never lose sight of the values you hold dear as an individual because they make you who you are.

2. The uniqueness of your journey.

Life is a journey and we all have our own path. Some people’s paths are smooth, easy and rosy, while other people’s are thorny, rough and tough. That’s fine, I believe that in creating us and carving our individual paths, God equipped us for the terrain we would tread through.

Don’t let anyone impose their blueprint of how life should be on you. Don’t compare your life with anyone’s.

Walk your course and let others chart their own path too.

3. Your experiences and lessons learnt over the years.

You are a curation of experiences and valuable lessons. You came from somewhere, you didn’t just happen on planet Earth.

Throughout your life, however long it’s been, you have made some mistakes and learnt from them. You have also probably made some discoveries and learnt how to do things better. You have attained wisdom over time, which you apply to your current life. Never undervalue your wisdom.

In the same vein, be very wary of people who walk into your life and think they can teach you how to live. That, to me, reveals a degree of narcissism and arrogance that devalues who you are and the lessons and experience you’ve collected throughout your life. It assumes foolishness on your part and wisdom on the part of the other without accommodating the middle ground of difference. You probably have different backgrounds, exposure and experiences. This doesn’t mean that one is more superior to the other, it just means they are different. Don’t let anyone downplay yours.

4. Your life purpose.

We were all born for a reason, which is usually tied to what we’re most passionate about. Unless we acknowledge this, establish our reason for living and work towards fulfilling that purpose, we will always feel empty and unfulfilled. Find your life purpose and use your gifts, talents, skills, experience and energy to fulfill it.

As you go through the journey of life, there’ll be lots of distractions, detours and dead ends.

Prod on and stay focused on achieving your primary goal.

5. Your future.

“Learn from the past, live in the present and plan for the future,” Audrey Farrell.

Some people are stuck in the past and neglect both the present and future. Others are caught up in the future and neglect the present. Have some balance. Indeed remember and learn from the past, but enjoy your life now and prepare for the future.

Picture source: http://bit.ly/2gAdD7s

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