‘I love the green in Ireland, it has something therapeutic’
2018-05-15 14:00:39 -
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The Integration Question with Princess Pamela Toyin

From fascinating east Africa, a region of abundant natural beauty and famous for its cultural elegance, to Ireland and its soul-lifting scenery, Jacinta Sophia Nyambura Chege feels deeply linked to two great continents.

“I love the green in Ireland, it has something therapeutic, something that makes you appreciate God,” she says, “and I love driving in the countryside of Ireland. It makes me connected with Africa. I feel I’m still breathing the countryside over there.”

 

Jacinta’s fascination with Ireland goes beyond the landscape, as she also loves the variety of food. “In east Africa, we’re not too much into any particular type of food, she says. “We eat good food, and that is another unique thing about Ireland: you’ll always find the food of your delight.”

 

Jacinta moved to Ireland in 1999 with her four children, who were her main concern at that time, and she wanted a stable and promising life for them. It was tough back home, caring for them alone, she relates, but after she migrated, after working so hard and sacrificing so much, she says was able to establish a modest life to ensure a solid future for them.

 

Now her children are grown and settled on their own, and Jacinta describes her life today as the peaceful one she had always wished for since her younger days. “I am happy things have turned out well, even though the road was very rough.”

 

Recalling her most memorable times so far in Ireland, Jacinta says the day she found the Seventh Day Adventist church, which she regards as her family, was paramount. “My faith is everything,” she adds. “I can never forget that day. I had been searching for the church for long and when I eventually found them, I was very happy.”

 

She also fondly remembers the day she got her permanent residency, and her first day at work with Women’s Aid.

 

“These are times I can say I was elated. The job at Women’s Aid was exciting for me because it was my first time to work on a helpline where I had to attend to so many callers. The fact that the organisation believed in me and put me in charge to deal with customer’s queries was a sign of trust.”

 

Jacinta’s job at Women’s Aid was an opportunity to learn much about the challenges faced by all women, not only from her own community. It was an eye-opener to realise such trials and tribulations were not limited to African women alone. Although she was only just beginning to rebuild her own life, Jacinta says she worked tirelessly with Women’s Aid, making significant impact to change the lives of countless women, protecting them from domestic abuse and helping them to safety and freedom from oppression.

 

After many years with Women’s Aid, Jacinta felt the need for a career change, so she moved on to embrace a new responsibility of working as a fundraising professional – to give something back to society, she says.

 

For Jacinta, fundraising is a different experience entirely to her previous support role, and to say she is passionate about the job is an understatement. She springs to life when she talks about her work.

 

But she can also look over her work and her life as a whole – down to her adoring grandchildren – and see how they have shaped her, though she knows her worth and does not allow anyone or anything else to define her.

 

“The different phases of experiences I have gone through have helped me learn and I will never forget those lessons.”

 

For the moment, Jacinta is content being close to Ireland’s natural habitat, but once she recognises adventure in another beautiful place, she is willing to give it a try. “Why not?” she says, adding that she is an adventurer who likes to discover new things that might add a new dimension to her life. “I’d love to live somewhere different from Ireland just for the experience of it.”

 

- Princess Pamela Toyin is a journalist, author and TV presenter who has gained experience since the mid 1980s working in various fields and interacting with people of different tribes and ethnicity. With her passion for diversity, she is propelled to report a diverse range of issues that facilitate intercultural dialogue and integration, which can change social, economic, and cultural stereotypes, and believes there are lessons to be learned from everyone. Talk to her on +353 (0) 87 417 9640 or email echoesmediainternational@gmail.com

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