Domestic Workers in Zimbabwe have inspiring stories. Whenever Domestic Association of Zimbabwe comes across such stories, we always share them.
Humble beginnings do not get humbler than the story of Chef Christina Mapfudzanwa, a fully qualified Class One Chef, who trained in the amazing tourist town of Victoria Falls. Just to jog the mind, a Chef is a trained professional cook and trades-person who is proficient in all aspects of food preparation, often focusing on a particular cuisine. The word “chef” is derived from the term chef de cuisine. From Maid to chef de cuisine, the question is how did it happen?
Having grown up in an impoverished community, going to school was difficult with little resources which is synonymous with young women and girls in Zimbabwe. In a rural school with few teachers and limited resources she wrote and did well but did not pass English language which is a prerequisite to all trainings or for further education. Hoping for the best, she migrated to the city in Harare and was welcomed by her cousins. She thus had to make ends meet and get something to do. The biggest step which was actually a turning point was her decision to turn to domestic work as the last resort source of income and occupation for her, as time waits for no one. Little did she know the wheels of fate had actually pushed her in the path of reaching success and the events that followed changed her life completely.
Pride is the devil, but once you swallow it opportunities will definitely present themselves. Christina managed to get a job as a full time domestic worker in 2012. Her doors to success were opened through her boss who pointed her towards the direction of personal development while on the job as a maid.
One step at a time, as each day pass, Christina combined her sheer will and motivation to study on her own, developing herself while balancing her duties as a domestic worker. On her attempt, under all these circumstances, she was facing ; Christina successfully passed English language and now had 5 Ordinary Level subjects namely, Mathematics, Shona, Geography, Science and Commerce . Next hurdle was using the qualifications to earn a living, employment and job opportunities are very difficult to come by, even with a high level of academic qualifications and here is Christina, with the most basic results that as Ordinary as they are labeled.
Sometimes, circumstances in our life make us feel that despite all the hard work we are doing, we have got nothing to show for it. There are days when all we ever encounter are roadblocks debarring us from moving forward. The moments when our dreams seems so out of reach, it makes us wonder if it is truly worth pursuing or fighting for. The breakthrough for Christina came through in the form of Chef Apprentice advertisement. Her employer showed her the newspaper advert and asked her to apply for the apprenticeship. She had never thought of this as an option or even what it entails to become a chef.
A great philosopher once said “Do not let the fear of what could happen make nothing happen” and so did Christina, who grabbed the bull by its horns and through assistance from her boss, she applied for the interview and clinched a position for the interview. Apart from the sheer fear presented by being at the majestic Victoria Falls and coming from a strong rural background, the place of the interview was intimidating even more than the actual interview. However when success locates one, miracles become a familiar phenomenon.
Christina went through the grueling interview with her little knowledge of the English Language, at one of the best hotels in Southern Africa. What the interviewers saw in her was sheer determination and confidence which eventually landed her the training apprentice above all odds. With a stipend which came with little expenses, she managed to gain the qualification and expertise she needed as a stepping stone to her success.
Within a period of 3 years, Christina was recommended for an opening of Cook at the same hotel that had given her the chance to prove herself. Within two working years, Christina is now a certified Class One Chef and serves as part of the Executive Chefs at this grand hotel in Harare. The seed also grew to beer fruits as now Christina is regarded an integral part of her family unit seeing her 3 siblings through their schooling.
My advice to young girls out there , “The sky is the limit, it only takes a leap of faith, prayer and dedication to realize one’s dream, where you are is not your final destination! Who would have ever thought that as a domestic worker with little to my name I would earn the title of Chef? I still cannot believe how when I am being introduced to others, the title Chef has become part of my name more or less as the terms Dr, Engineer, Honorable.
We indeed wish her the best in all her future endeavors. If you ever need a private chef when she is not working let us know , she might cook you a storm!
Stay tuned for more inspiring stories about maids who faced the odds and are leading the way and showing it can be done.