Raising Malaika in the diaspora

15 Feb
Precious little toes

Precious little toes

Its been 5 months, I am a mother…. it’s very surreal. Someone said to me “isn’t it totally f-ed up that we are in positions where you essentially raise your kid in isolation? It’s not how it’s meant to be”. On a daily basis I think how true these words are. Not only for the help extra pairs of hands would provide but for the soul  (a very deliberate use of this word) benefit of sharing this journey, this miracle with those that helped shape you, so your child experiences what you experienced and sees the beginnings of life through your African eyes and not just your words… This may sound overly dramatic, you may think its the hormones speaking but its true, its hard to explain but there are those that get it…

Unfortunately for the majority of Africans having children in the diaspora we don’t have the luxury of having you family come and help you for as long as you need if at all. Reasons are mainly two fold: political (visas are hard to get) and economic (even if they could afford the ticket they cannot afford to be away indefinitely..mouths to feed and all that…) So we find ourselves raising Malaika Rudo in what feels like isolation, though we have many new friends and adopted families who are here to support us there is no substitute for an african childhood. There are no morning roosters, chicken scratching furiously in the ground, smell of rain before you see it, shiny vaseline smothered babies gurgling in the African heat, no mealie meal porridge wafting through the house at dawn, no visitors whose only notice of a pending visit is the sound of a door knock and “Kokokoi…” through an open door, no Cerelac : only Google, Skype and the occasional phone call…..

I have taken to Whatsapp-ing pictures of what I seem are significant moments in her life. The quality and handiness of my iPhone means that she’s always getting snapped up.. my mother warns wearily : “Malaika is going to think its normal to be in front of a camera everyday”… I sometimes feel like one of those mothers who always puts her baby on the phone for people to speak to, except in this case I send near-daily pictures of her to my nearest and dearest..even my husband gets pictures whilst he’s at work, what can I say we made a thing of beauty.

I have a WhatsApp group with three of my friends who are in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. They all have young children, we went to school together. The title of the group is ‘Boobies’, created in desperation when my breasts were engorged, burning, throbbing and I had no idea what to was happening and what to do! One of them said, “Oh your milk has come in”… “Really?! Can it go back out?!” Its now become a first port-of- call when I have a question and need to reach out to real people when I afraid of what advice Google will impart…

My cousin-sister ( I can see you Zimbabweans chuckling, yeah I said it) raised an interesting point : Don’t you wonder what life was like before her… I don’t , because somehow life has only just begun…..

So here’s to the first of what I hope will be many blog posts about this new journey, this new life. She naps for 30 minutes a time during the day so I am hoping that at least once a day I get to share my new world view.



7 Responses to “Raising Malaika in the diaspora”

  1. Mai Nove March 1, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    I was just about to email you because I thought it’s been a long time since I heard from you and Malaika, then I saw your mum’s email with your blog. I felt touched, had a tear in my eye. But I ‘m sure you are enjoying every minute with Malaika now and love every step of this long rewarding journey


  2. Theresa March 1, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    Keep writing Tash… Really enjoyed reading it. And here’s to Malaika owning, no, rocking, that 15th percentile!!! It’s difficult to be a champion pooper and a heavy-weight! Miss you and wish we were closer. Thank heaven for WhatsApp xxx


  3. Rue March 1, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    Miss you so much and it would be great watching Malaika grow up , be there for her birthdays and all .
    Tirikubirwa kuita anambuya .


  4. Mai Nove March 2, 2014 at 2:12 am #

    I suggest that you Tasha speak to Missy in Shona because ndorurimi rwa amai. While you breast feed her and you gaze into each other’s eyes, you affectionately chuckle and chat to her in Shona. How is that?


    • tashata March 3, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

      This is a good idea. I do try and do that more. At the moment though I am not allowed to talk when she’s feeding she gets very annoyed. Zvakaoma….. But you are right kana apedza & she’s ‘chatting to me’ would be ideal


  5. Tish May 28, 2014 at 1:30 am #

    Hi there, congratulations. I was voting for some local bloggers of mine and I saw your name and voted for you. From one Zim to another, good luck.


    • tashata May 28, 2014 at 7:06 am #

      Thank you! We don’t know many Zimbos here, great to have your support!


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