Alice Chigumera

Born: 15th May 1965

Harare, Zimbabwe

Date of interview: 31st May 2006

Map showing where Alice Chigumera came from

Were you still living with your friend then?

I was still living with my friend because she had said that I should until I managed on my own. She was willing to take me in, my friend had her own two children, daughters, a husband was staying in a council flat with two bedrooms, but as you know with our African culture you just have to sort of, it becomes an extended family
As soon my children were coming she managed to sort of get a room for me to go and rent and she had helped me pay the deposit and all the other things, to go and stay with my children in that one room.

When they got to the airport, the air hostess who were escorting them out, I don't know, I just felt tearful, I couldn't believe that after six months I could see my children and they looked so thin and miserable and I was so, I'd lost a lot of weight, I was not the same person, I was never the Alice that they were used to, the vibrant Alice, the one who had the kind of diplomatic etiquette and everything, it had just gone. I took my children and went to the house, unbelievable for them, they were shocked when they got here, they couldn't, I mean I'm not, I'm not bragging about the way we lived in Zimbabwe, but we do live comfortably, they had a house which was massive, each child had had a bedroom, three bathrooms and all that and servants, garden, two cars, cars, everything used to happen to them. Coming from a mansion to come to live in a one bedroomed house, where there's no TV, where there's absolutely nothing, I think it was just devastating for them. My little daughter Tadiwa, when she started school, she could not even manage to speak and they had to bring in child psychologists to see what was happening because she was so traumatised in the aspect of what in the world is happening, why are we here, why are we in a one room and all that