Feature Articles
Women changing the world


More testimonials

There have been a number of women who have strived so hard throughout history to better the world. There have been too many of them, and they all deserve the honor to be recognized and to be seen as role model for other young women out there.


I have known a lot of women in my life, but three of the many have played a very important role in my life, and they are the reasons I want to be one of the women who are still willing to continue bettering the world. These three women are women who came from different backgrounds and countries. All they have in common is me, a child from a whole different country and continent.

One of these three women is Sr. Canisia. Sr. Canisia came to Zambia from Germany as a missionary nun of the Dominican sisters. I met her in 1996 when I was four years old, and my young sister was six months old. This was the time when my mother died.


One day my father came home looking sad. I asked him where my mother was, and he told me, “Mommy is not coming back home. She is gone forever,” I didn’t know what that meant. Being the four- year- old child I was, I got excited and asked him, “Do you mean never ever?” He said “Yes,” I went over to my parents’ bedroom and said to myself, “Now here is a chance for you to do everything Mummy would tell you not to do,” and I started jumping on their bed, happy that Mum was not coming back. I jumped and jumped, put on her clothes, played with her makeup and did all she wouldn’t allow me to do. Poor me, I didn’t know the meaning of “Mom is gone.”


Days went by and now I was really asking my dad where my mom was, I started to miss her and wanted her so bad, even though we all claimed that my mom was my older sister’s best friend and I was my dad’s best friend, though this was kind of true. My dad was my everything, I followed him everywhere he went, his friends were my friends, and I wouldn’t eat my meals if my father wasn’t home, so he made sure he came home from work just so we could have our lunch together. But now that my mother was gone, my father become a stranger to me. He sat down quiet in his chair for the longest time imaginable. We no longer laughed and play around together.


Soon after, my father got depressed, started drinking, and we only saw him later in the evening. At four, I become the mother to my six- months- old sister. My older sister went leave with some aunt. I had to look for food to feed my sister, bathe her, and carry her when she cried, and do everything a four –year- old could do as a mother. It may sound unbelievable but I tried my best and am sure I was the best mother my sister could have ever come to know. She became my everything, and it was just the two of us.

Later on, my father came back to himself, but he had lost his job, and he was no longer able to take care of my sister and me. My father asked his relatives for help, but none of them were willing to lend a helping hand. All the relatives we had when everything was fine had now become strangers. None of them was anywhere to be seen, not even my mother’s own sisters. My father went around seeking help. He went from person to person and from church to church.


Finally God saw how much my father suffered, and there was Sr. Canisia who came to our rescue and saved us. Sr. Canisia took me and my young sister in and we lived with the nuns for some time while she figured out what she could do for us. All she ever wanted was to give us a home and hope for what was best for us. She then found us a place to stay very far away from our home town. She found us a place at Kasisi Children’s Home, and there is where I met the second woman in my life who became my mother.

At Kasisi Children’s Home I met Sr. Mariola. Sr. Mariola is from Poland. She is in charge of the children’s home and belongs to the congregation known as the Little Servants of Mary. She left her country, her family and her home just to come and be a mother to us orphans. With her we are no longer orphans because she became the mother I will never have.


When Sr. Canisia took at us to Kasisi, we were received with warmth and welcomed into the big family that we found at Kasisi. Kaisis has about 250 children, from a few weeks old upward, all from different backgrounds and parts of the country. From 1996 until now Kasisi has been my home, and I have brothers and sisters whom I would have not known otherwise. We are a big happy family, and it is only at Kasisi that I realized that we don’t choose our family; it is not whose blood you carry but who you love and who loves you.

I grew up at Kasisi surrounded by many children with different needs, some with more needs than others, but that didn’t mean we were to be treated differently. Of course it is not easy to provide each and every thing that an individual child requires but we were all treated the same with love and care. Sr. Mariola did and still does anything in her power to get and do what is best for each child.


There will be no other woman I will ever know who can manage to raise and be there for all 250 children. She takes every single child to school, she makes sure we study and get our education, she will never listen to any “I can’t do school”. To her, school is one of the most important things in life for one to have a good future and a life of his/her own. She provided us with everything that was necessary for school and our basic needs. From Kasisi, I learned to be content with what I had, I learned to share and live with other people. I learned to treat each individual fairly, I learned to love and care for others, to help others, especially those who were vulnerable and needed the most help. In Kasisi the babies need the most help and I learned this.


When I was much younger, Sr. Mariola would give us duties to help and care for the babies. We would think it was a punishment and didn’t want to do it, but she made sure we did it, little did I know that I was learning one of life’s important things, like loving and caring. Now I am able to look after babies and young children. I am gentle with them and care for them like my own family, even children I don’t know. Now people tell me am good with children and trust me with theirs. I only have my mother, Sr.Mariola, to thank.

As a mother I learned a whole lot from Sr. Mariola, and I always tell her this; when she thought I wasn't looking, I heard her say a prayer, and I knew there was a God I could always talk to, and I learnt to trust Him. When she thought I wasn't looking, I saw her make a meal, and she took it to a sick child and to me, when my stomach hurt. I learnt we have to help and care for each other. When she thought I wasn't looking, I saw her give food to the poor, and I learnt to help the needy.


When she thought I wasn't looking, I saw her give food to our dogs, Fred and Maya and I learnt to be kind to animals. When she thought, I wasn't looking I saw her put up paintings of the boys (James and Jacob and the other children) on the wall, and they immediately wanted to paint some more. When she thought I wasn't looking, she made some nice soup for me, and I learnt that the little things can be special in life. When I thought I was right when I was actually wrong, she scolded me and put me in my right place. She didn’t just tell us what to do, but she did the thing she talked about, and I learnt them from her because I saw her do them.


The biggest thing I learned is that children will always do what you did when you thought they were not watching. Sr. Mariola has been the best for me to watch and that makes her the perfect mother I never had, and so I would love her to know that “when you thought I wasn't looking I SAW!!” When she gave us a home, I knew she loved us and I learnt that everyone needs to be loved.

The third woman important in my life is Kerry Maguire. I met Kerry in 2004 when she first came to Zambia with the dental group. She came to Kasisi and provided free dental care for all the children at the Children’s Home. Kerry goes to Zambia twice a year, and not only does she provide dental care for the Kasisi children, but she also goes to the remote area of Zambia called Muchila village, where not even our own Zambian government has been. Kerry also runs a non-profit organization known as Options for Children in Zambia. She fundraises money and helps build facilities in Muchila.

In 2004 Kerry asked Sr. Mariola if she could sponsor one child from Kasisi, and Sr.Mariola suggested she sponsored me. Kerry has sponsored me since then until now. When I finished my high school, I was given the opportunity to come and do my college in the United States if I wanted t. I thought that was a great opportunity to take and that is how I came here in 2010 and started my college here at Pine Manor College in the spring of 2011. Kerry is more than my sponsor; she is my American mother and has given me a second home here. She treats me like her own child, and there is nothing more I can ask for.

There are a lot of people that come into your life but only a few have touched my heart, and they give me a reason to go on each day. These three women have been there from my weakest moment, and they never gave up on me. They did all they could without being forced to help out a child they had no idea they would ever know.

I chose to write my paper about them because they are the reason that I am here today. I couldn’t imagine my life without any of them. They have showed me that we can create family anywhere is the wide world. If someone has been there for me all my life, I am sure I can do the same for other people around the world. I know I will not be able to change everyone’s life, but it would count if I make a difference in someone else’s life. My dream is to finish my education, have my own life, and be successful, so I can go out in the world and help others; I want to be one of the many women changing the world.


Tamara Sakala



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