The day that my mum “died” for an hour.

One early morning of 1st August 2008, I boarded bus X34 heading to Manchester, and I had just been on the bus for ten minutes when my mobile went beep-beep. Instantly I knew the sound signalled that it’s a message just being received on my phone. In a flash of seconds I pulled my phone from my jean pocket and retrieved the message. It was three-letter sentence but powerful enough to get my body numb. “Was I dreaming?” I wondered with my thought. “Could this be real?” I asked myself again.  I pinched myself hard and a fierce pain sipped through my skin. Yes, I thought I wasn’t dreaming. It was real. With these thoughts I read the message again, which reads: Mum is gone. “What does this mean? Does it mean my mum is dead and I can not see her alive, alive that she can no longer hold me in her hands, no longer hearing her sweet voice again, no longer sharing the love of a mother and a daughter. Oh! God,” I started sobbing hard as the bus rolled towards Manchester.

Whilst grieving my mind floated back to Zimbabwe where mum lived and it had been now six years since I Iast saw her and the only communication we had been using  was the phone. My communication with her was not so frequent because she had to travel 50 miles from the rural area of Wedza to Marondera town where my cousin brother lives with his family. It is on these special occasions when she at least spends two weeks or a month with them, and then I would have a viable communication with her. The last time I spoke to her was six months ago when she had visited my cousin, purposely to be able to speak to me or hear my voice and she would say: “I am very happy that I can hear your voice my daughter, that assures me that you are still alive. When are you coming back to see us?”  I would answer her back “Oh mum! When my immigration matters are sorted out I would come back to you. I love you mum.” Now reality had struck, my mother was no more. I started to remember all the good days that I had shared with my mum as I grew up. We were virtually inseparable. They were times when my mum would strap me on her back and she would walk a long distance whilst I was fidgeting on her back. Whenever my mum goes somewhere and leaving me behind, I would eventually know the reward, she would bring something back it could be some sweets, a new dress or a book to read. It was very rare of her to leave me behind.

One day when I was about five years old, she left me with other children and she told me she was going to return early. I accepted but inside I was yearning to be with her. In simpler terms it basically means I was emotionally attached to my mum that I did not bear seeing her going and leaving me behind. I used to tell her that when she dies I would be buried with her. I couldn’t imagine a life without my mum. On that day after she left I launched a plan to follow her without telling any of the children. Secretly, I manoeuvred away from them and started to trek after my mother. I climbed a nearby mountain and followed a stony pathway, which was canopied with green leaves. I was enveloped along the way like a tiny seed. Nothing of fear visited me until I was exposed to an open ground. I started to follow a wide, dust, gravel and a meandering road.  It was then when I saw an army vehicle, packed with soldiers hanging their guns out. Out of fear I started to cry calling for my mum but unfortunately she was nowhere, but somewhere from a distance someone heard my cries and I saw an old lady running towards me, her hands wide and open. Once she got closer to me, she scooped me into her hands. Astonishingly she even knew who I was and even my parents. She consoled me. In a short time my hands were full of sweets. The sweets she had taken from her son’s shop.  On her portable radio she played lullaby songs and consciously they send me to sleep.

With these thoughts I groaned in pain, and unknowingly my sobbing on the bus had disturbed other passengers who did not know what had happened to me. “ What’s the matter?” enquired one of the lady passengers who were just sitting in front of me. “My mum died,” I replied her. “Oh! I am sorry. Where did she died?” she enquired politely. “In Zimbabwe,” I said. The woman became very friendly and caring that she introduced herself to me. “My name is Debra, “ she said. “Euna,” I told her my name. We shook hands and she held me tightly as we alight from the bus, it had already arrived at Piccadilly Gardens bus station in Manchester. My tears were still rolling down and several people, who saw me on that rush hour, were emotionally disturbed even though I was a stranger to them. My facial expression had told them volumes of my sorrow. “Lets go to the café,” I heard Debra asking. Silently I followed her.  We went to the café, which was just few yards from the bus station. “Take a sit, Euna. Can I buy tea or coffee for you?” she asked. “Coffee,” I said. Inwardly I did not want anything to do with food or a drink. I accepted it as a polite gesture knowing it’s very rare to meet a stranger such as Debra who offers a genuine support and a tender loving care at the time of difficulties. In a couple of minutes Debra was back holding one cup of coffee in her hands. “Here is your Coffee. I know this coffee would not do much to what you are going through, but I want you settle down first and then you can clearly make your plans,” she said calmly. “Thank you, Debra,” I whispered. “Sorry, Euna, I am not going to stay with you for a long time, I am now going to my work. Here is my phone number”. She scribbled quickly on a small piece of paper and gave it to me. “If you need any help, please do not hesitate to phone me,” she added. I expressed my gratitude to her, then, Debra, left.

Sitting alone on the table, in the café shop, I noticed I had not touched the coffee and it was getting cold when I started moving towards the exit, I had a plan, I wanted to top up my mobile first and then inform all my friends of what had befallen me. I left the café and went to a nearest cash machine and withdrew £20. After that I went to an off-licence shop where I bought £10 top up virgin voucher and topped up my phone immediately. I started to send messages of my mum’s deaths to closet friends and people from our church. I started to receive condolence messages and they were flooding in like water, and some people tried to speak to me over the phone but my voice had already gone and only I could do, was to whisper.

Then suddenly something clicked in my mind, I decided to phone the person who had sent the message about my mum’s death. On my phone it had indicated as a new number that meant the sender’s name was not in my phone book. My initial thoughts were that my sister-in law who lives in London was the one who could have sent the message since she was only my immediate relative.

I dialled the number; first it went to voice mail. Later I tried again and I was answered with a familiar voice but it was not my sister-in –law’s voice but my friend, Memory, (not her real name) who also lives in London. Then I sensed immediately something must be wrong. “How can Memory be the first to receive message about my mum’s funeral?” I struggled with my conscience before I asked her. “Memory, I got your message. Tell me, whose mum is dead?” I asked her. “My mum, I mean my mum’s elder sister passed away last night,” Memory answered back.Then, I realised it was not my mum who had passed away but it was my friend’s aunt.

 In our Shona culture it’s normal to call your mother ‘s elder or younger sister as your “mum” and it also applies to man, the male siblings of your father’s family you can call them “father”. It’s not automatically reinforced but it’s a way of showing respect to your elders. As for Memory, this aunt was for surely her mother and she was only the surviving member from her mother’s family. Her aunt had taken her role seriously as her mother after Memory’s biological mother passed away. This aunt had a special place in my friend’s heart because; even on Memory’s wedding day, I remembered well that she was very supportive and handled her role as a mother pretty well.

In a nutshell, I was relieved that my mum was not dead but alive and at the same time I felt sorry for my friend knowing she had no one to call mum. I conveyed my condolences to her and we spoke for a long time on the phone. It taught me not to take things for granted and value each day as it goes by day. I still haven’t seen my mum yet but I always ask to the Creator of heavens and earth to protect us well until we meet each other physically.

The Classic Anointed Cakes..

It’s a story of an ambitious lady who grew up enjoying baking at an early stage of her life. She would watch her mum baking scones at home. The smell of savoury scones would fill the kitchen inviting the outsiders to come and taste the delicious scones. Every time she saw her mum baking, the young lady would ask her if she could help her, without hesitation the mother would quickly show how to make the scones. The child mastered the art of baking and little did she know that one day she would have her own cake business. It was through the awe some responses that she got from friends, church and family members that her cakes were extremely beautiful and delicious. Every body that ate her cake came back with amazing testimonies. She was humbly touched and thought hers was a gift from God. She never believed that it was her baking knowledge that made her cakes popular but believed that some how there is anointing of God in her work. To acknowledge God in her business she came up with a business name of her cakes; Classic Anointed Cakes. You may wonder who is this lady. It is I, Euna Chawatama the author of this article and the founder of the Classic Anointed Cakes.

Strike while it is still hot.

In April 2008, a friend called Euna at midnight. “Hi Euna, I am calling for an immediate help and I just thought of you.” “Ok. How can I help?” Said Euna. “I have got my cousin here and whose wedding is on this coming up weekend the 5th of April. They need a wedding cake. The person whom he had entrusted to do the work had let him down on the last minute”. At that moment Euna’s mind went wild for she knew she never ever made a wedding cake before but only the birthday cakes. Here was an opportunity for her to show that she can do more than just a birthday cake. She wrestled with her mind whether to grab or not. She finally said to her friend, “Can I speak to your cousin?” “Of course you can, just hold the line for him.” In a couple of seconds a deep male voice blurted out. “Hi Euna, It is as you heard from my cousin. We are in limbo and we desperately need your help,” he said with a pleading tone. “I have heard your plea. I am not going to say yes or no till tomorrow afternoon. I am going to call you once I made up mind,” said Euna. After a couple of minutes the telephone conversation ended bade each other Good night, good night.

It was a while when Euna thought what she was going to do with the special request. The answer that came to her mind that night was to only share her dilemma with other people who know her well. The first person she contacted that night was Pete, her old friend. After she had conveyed her thoughts to him, it did not take long for Pete to motivate Euna. “Strike while it is still hot. Opportunities come and go but you have to grab this one,” said Pete “I never made a wedding cake as you know, so how do you think am I going to handle this one?” “It’s a challenge Euna and you have to take a risk,” argued Peter. “But risking people’s wedding cake is not my cup of tea,” silently Euna uttered those words in her heart. In the end she thanked Pete for his contribution. It was time for Euna to ponder on the business matters and come up with amicable solution for the newly weds to be.. When she went to bed that night the only words that ring her mind: Strike while it is still hot. With this she went to bed peacefully knowing she was going to please her new customers.

The following day Euna phoned the new customers earlier than the scheduled time she had mentioned earlier, she revealed. The customer wanted two big fruits and sponge cakes. The theme of their wedding was the burgundy and colours.As the week went by Euna found herself fully indulged in the cake business. She worked hard day and night and the results were pleasing. By the end of the week Euna Chawatama had produced the most beautiful cake that the world had ever seen.

This is the Cake

Con Man Targeted the Vulnerable

Con man could look innocent as they talk and they seemed to be very reliable people. They use persuasive tone and made their stories more convincing and believable. Some are truly professional and they could fraudulent misrepresent the product they are selling. There are several ways that con man could use to get what (s) he wants. Con men are people whom we trust such as friends, family, colleagues, professionals and strangers.  Thousands of people have been tricked across the globe. Millions of money went out to the wrong hands through the word trusting. Most people end up crying over spilt milk.  We read these stories from the newspapers, magazines, Internet and sometimes follow some TV documentaries an example the Fake Britain.  A staggering number of Britons have been duped and made to believe that the contracts were genuine but in fact they were void.

This morning I have blocked a telesales man to sell whatever product he intended to sell to a very fragile old man whose mental state is not in position to make any valid decisions. At first when I answered the call I thought the salesman was just a mere relative of Mr Black (not his real name) who wanted to ask about his health and how he was copying up. The sales man called him by his last name and that made me to believe that they were acquaintances. So I handed over the phone to Mr Black who was about to eat his bacon sandwich, which I had prepared for him.

It was five minutes later when I suspected the person on the other side of the phone was into some “business” and Mr Black was having difficult to understand his accent and at the same time his food was getting cold whilst having this continuous conversation. The telesales man ended up asking Mr Black’s address. Mr Black gave out his address. It was at this point when I interrupted the conversation. I asked Mr Black to hand over the phone so that I could speak to the person.  On the phone I spoke to the person and told him that Mr Black was in the middle of eating when he called and that his food was getting cold because of the endless conversation.

 “When should I call him back?” asked the telesales man. I decided not to beat about the bush and make my point clear to him. “Let me tell you that your potential customer, Mr Black, is very old man and he is very ill. His mental state is not in a position to make any valid decision based on whatever product you want to sell him.”

 “Oh, I want to speak him,” he insisted. “Back off I said and do not try to take the advantage of his age and his status.” “No. I didn’t know,” he screamed with the tears of crocodile. “ Don’t phone again,” I said with an authoritative voice. “Ok” he said as he cut off the phone.

 I looked at the telephone for a while as if it holds all the secret of a con man. “You handled it very well,” said Mr Black. “Did I?” I asked. “Indeed,” he confirmed.  I know that there are some genuine telesales people but majority are trying ways of getting rich quickly and targeting the vulnerable people to whom they sell illegal contracts or the fraudulent misrepresented products.

 What is it that can be done to help the vulnerable elderly communities that are exposed to the criminals? Many are suffering from financial abuse that lead to psychological, emotional and negligence abuse. Majority feel insecure. Who is there to help when they are names and addresses are exposed to vultures?

The Baboons reared a baby.

Once upon a time during the liberation struggle of Zimbabwe, a certain village in Manyika Province was bombed by Smith regime soldiers. The whole village was turned to ashes. All the people in the village died but there was only one fortunate survivor, a baby girl. The baby cried throughout the day and night but no help came from  the nearby villages.  The following  day a troop of baboons that were passing by saw the baby lying next to the burning ashes. Filled with compassion and having understood the plight of the baby, the mother baboon picked up the baby and carried on its back. The baboons moved back into the forest  where they started to look after the little baby with tender  loving care. It gave them pride and  a purpose. The baboons provided food for the baby.  At night-time the baboons would go  and sleep in a cave. The mother  baboon would grab the baby and brought it closer to its chest and cupped the baby with its fur arms to give the baby the best warmth. The father baboon would sandwich the baby, providing the best protection and warmth. As the days flew by, the little girl developed quickly and mastered  the baboon life, eating like a baboon, walking like a baboon and communicating like a baboon. All these development pleased the new parents especially the mother baboon who made all the efforts to fend her and teaching all the tricks of surviving in the jungle. The little girl could quickly alert  the baboon family if human beings were coming to send them away from their fields and orchards.

Two years later the little baby girl was now capable of walking long distances in search of food. She used her hands as forefront legs like the baboons. It was on one of these trips that the little girl was noticed with other villagers whilst walking with baboons. The people in the neighbouring villages were puzzled. Some  people who were more curious than others  started to follow these baboons and observe from a distance and discovered the truth that  the little girl was part of the baboon’s family. It is from their observations that they noted that the  little  girl was  living happily with the baboons and there was a kind of mutual understanding. The little girl was also protected from any outside attacks especially from the human beings.

The story was reported to the Chief of the area and who finalised that the little girl should be taken away from the baboon’s family and brought her to the village. The villagers gathered and found  a way to take the little girl from the baboon. When time came  to pick her up, the villagers could not comprehend the fierce attack they faced from the wild animals.  The baboons were screaming and chanting but it did not stop the villagers to go ahead with their plan. The baby girl became very upset when she realised her old family had been overpowered.  The baboons ran after the human beings in attempt to grab their child back.

In the end the animals accepted defeat. The first few weeks were hard  to adapt for the baby but  surprisingly the little girl blended well with new parents. Her story became the talk of so many people. The villagers prepared a party invited the baboons a sign of appreciation. It went merrily and the baby girl was happy to reunite with her former parents “the baboons”

Almond Ministries.

Almonds growing on a tree
Image via Wikipedia

I am the founder of the Almond Ministries. A  highlight of my background.  I am not a Bible scholar. I am not trained theologian. I am not a historian or an archaeologist. My Hebrew is non-existent and my Greek is limited to words: “doner “and “kebab”. I am sharing my enthusiasm for the Bible and for what it has to say. I am not an expert. I am a fan.  I don’t know all the answers, which is why; I hope I can be honest about the questions. I would love share or preach the word of God through my blog.  Mathew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the of the father and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2Timothy3:16,17

It’s the word of God.

For christians the bible is more than just a book. Christians talk about the bible as “the Word of God”. It is a book that God speaks through to His people.  Just as Christians believe that God speaks to us through prayer, we also believe that God speaks through the bible. That is why the bible is often referred to as the “living” Word of God. The bible is truly interactive book. It challenges, inspires, thrills, excites and challenge all those who read it.

It’s Historically important.

Historically speaking, the Bible is the most important book ever published. It has influenced actions of more people around the world than any other book. In western world it has inspired most of the great art, poetry and literature of the past centuries. Its influence on politicians, writers, artists, revolutionaries, visionaries and religious leaders is unmistakable. Its laws the famous Ten Commandments– are at the basis of most judicial systems. Many of the everyday proverbs and phrases we use are to be found in the Bible.

It’s irrelevant.

It’s about you and me.

The people in the Bible are very like us. They may dress differently, they may act in unusual way, but the issues they wrestle with are the same issues that face us all. The Bible talk about love, peace, war, happiness, freedom, greed, forgiveness, sex, possessions truth…and a whole lot more.  All these issues are just relevant today.

Why Almond Ministries?

I came up with name Almond Ministries after reading a verse from the book of Numbers 17. The Budding of Aaron Staff. On verse 8:The next day Moses entered the Tent of Testimony and saw that Aaron’s Staff, which represented the house of Levi had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds. The almond tree had gone

Sad Story of a Man

Last week was my birthday….., My wife didn’t wish me…. My parents forgot and so did my kids… I went to work… Even my colleagues didn’t wish me… As I entered the cabin my secretary said, “Happy Birthday Boss”…I felt so special…She asked me out for lunch….After lunch, she invited me to her apartment…We went there… She said, “Do you mind if I go into the bedroom for a minute?” “OKAY”, I said…She came out five minutes later with  a cake, And my wife, my parents, my kids, my friends, my colleagues.. All screaming SURPRISE… And I was waiting on the sofa…………………………………..NAKED

Baboon Prayed.

The title of this story could intrigue many people who are believers and non-believers. It is a story that touched the elderly and the young generation in the community where I grew up as they watched the animal with awe on its deathbed. It was the summer of 1983, I was very young but I could still recall the events that unfolded on a particular Saturday morning.  My brothers and other boys in the village had gone out to the gardens, which were more than a mile from the village. On their way a bunch of dogs followed them, giving them some companionship and also

baboon

 the boys believing that the dogs can hunt anything lying in the bushes.

Thirty minutes aterf their departure. I heard the yelling voices and dogs barking from the nearby hills and mountains.  With so much curiosity building up inside me I searched for an open space so that I could investigate the cause of commotion in the mountains. Once I found the spot I spotted some young and senior boys running in the mountains as they dodged the sharp-pointed stones and thick prickling branches. They were running after their dogs. So what was the catch? It was the baboon that the dogs were after and the dogs had dominated the battleground.  Like gangsters the dogs attacked the baboon viciously but the single male baboon fought back like a wounded buffalo and making sure its sharp-edged teeth sank deep like a  lion.

 It was a blood battle and the blood oozed from both animals leaving behind some blood stained marks on tree branches, stones and the dried grass. There were times when the baboon got so many chances to escape away with its life but alas every loophole was blocked by each single dog.  It was cornered and out numbered. The situation became more difficult for the baboon as the cheering of human beings escalated. I must have cried as I felt a wet drop landing on the ground where I stood.  I looked around before I wiped my tears away with the back of my hand. I saw my mum, father and other elderly couples going towards the edge of the nearby mountains. The dogs and the lads were still chasing the baboon. I sympathised with the baboon but there was no help I could offer to escape from the jaws of its enemies.

Eventually the baboon gave up the fight and decided to climb a nearby tree. It was neither big nor a small tree but good enough for it to lay down its head as it gave up its life. Blood was drenching everywhere. I looked for the dogs and all the dogs that I saw were all wounded: from minor to bigger scars. Some dogs chins were deeply skinned off and hence exposing their teeth. It was those last moments that the baboon’s final actions on the time of its death astonished everybody who attended to it. It lifted up its hands in the air and put its palms together and bring closer to its countenance or face. It closed its eyes and the baboons lips moved silently. It breathed the last air and passed away. It is the praying hands position that it made a good headline. A baboon prayed on the time of its death. The phrase became permanently registered in people’s minds and it became a talk on everybody’s lips. If a baboon, a wild animal could worship God on its deathbed. What of human beings who were given dominion over the animals?

 With this message I narrated to you I say it is just food for thought.