Wednesday, 30 April 2014

First World ‘Problems’

This day in age, life’s drive seems to be tied to a cellphone,
A cold coffee is seen as unacceptable, more so than an under furnished home.
Food left too long in the fridge is discarded, the first and last slices of bread disregarded
And walking 20 minutes to catch a train is seen as unbearable, one would rather be carted.
“I hate my dad, he got me a Samsung S4 not an iPhone 5S…”
“That girl has the same top as me; I need to buy a new dress!”
Power is lost for a minute, nations come to a halt
Weeks seem to be ruined, because the air conditioning is ‘too cold’.

Phones hooked on charging cables; modern day slavery chains,
A day without it is unthinkable, in its company you yearn to remain.
But look around you; did you have a meal, and a warm bed to sleep?
Do you have clothes on your back, shoes on your feet?
Now imagine the life of the girl forced into bondage, simply because there’s no other way
A healthy and sustaining life they fail to maintain.
Traded like handshakes they’re abused from one master to the next,
While other people complain about not having ‘Unlimited Texts’.
You dream of starting a family, with a loving spouse and kids
But she’s only 14, beleaguered and already expecting her first kin.

South of the world and equator you find a young boy, face baked by the sun
Rising before the early bird, in order to begin his daily errand run.
Heels cracked with neglect, bones exposed and under slept.
Not a soul left to fend for him and his siblings,
So the life of responsibility he’s been forced to accept.
The caveman lifestyle is his own as he does not have the luxury of light,
No stove to prepare his food, or padded bedding keeping him warm at night.
The breeze blows over his body, through the crevices formed by his ribs,
He embraces his younger sister, trying to protect her with the last bit of warmth he has to give.

“One man’s rubbish is another man’s gold,” is a story often told but never understood,
No one will better comprehend these words than those lacking food.
Her mother was struck with an illness, thus she is forced a life on the streets,
Begging from one car to the next, selling her body in search of ‘decent upkeep.’
One man’s trash becomes her meal for the day,
Maybe for the next three, who knows when she will finally get a break?
Young men forced to fight for the freedom of their countries,
Ironically theirs was stolen from their grasp,
But who dares argue with the Third World Trend, that doesn’t risk facing judgemental brass.

While faces are caked with cosmetics, all she has on her face is despair,
Rummaging through garbage in search of a morsel to spare.
The only thing ‘designer’ about her clothes is their unique wear and tear,
She could be mistaken for a cheetah, with her face visibly lined with dry tears.
Hair lying unkempt on her face, searching for meaning with her stares
A rainbow of waste lies behind her, that’s how we may see it, but she sees a bed.
Before you complain about life being too hard and think fortune evades you
Think of those that have nothing, no food for the table.
Let alone a table for the food, no bed to sleep, no place to call home
No opportunity to read a book or gain education, even though they are more than able.
Often we are ungrateful, disarray becomes common
When we forget that a Third World Blessing, is seen as a First World ‘Problem.’


Russell Gwata (2014).

(NOTE: I own no copyrights of the picture used in this publication.
Reviewed by Denise Hebborn & Uzma Kayani.)

Monday, 28 April 2014

From the frying pan to the fire:

So I've just finished a two week internship that I had the honour of being selected for at Bell-Pottinger. Just a short background on the company, it is the UK's leading PR and Consulting company, working with large multinationals to improve not only their brand image, but public perception as well. Now, coming from studying Business Law, this is a major leap, but the opportunity presented itself (as many have during my time at this university) and I had to take it up. 

The title says it all really, I literally went straight from the frying pan to the fire. On my very first day I was tasked with completing media profiles and short memo's for senior staff members, a fair enough start one would assume. As the days went on, the tasks kept rolling in both in quantity and complexity, and I soon found myself swamped with duties, a real 'worker'. Now, this situation can be taken one of two ways, either I'd sulk about it and say I was incapable, or knuckle down and do what was expected of me, even more than what they expected in fact. I received great feedback on all my tasks, which were a bit reminiscent of University assignments instead in this case, it wasn't a case study I was analysing, it was a real current situation! I found this helped me when I came back to uni, experiencing some things first hand gives you a greater appreciation for them and a broader view on how different questions can be answered.

I left with more experience, world class links and a great name on my CV, all achieved from two weeks of commitment. I can only imagine what I'd have achieved in a month, or two, or six! My point is use your time here wisely, you can either enter university and leave with a degree, or enter and leave with links, work experience, a great social circle, and real future prospects. University is more than just a chance to get a degree, it's the real opportunity to build your future brick by brick, the ball is on your court!




Be great...


Russ.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Reminiscent:

It’s been a pretty hectic year, I can’t deny that bit, but I’ve learnt a lot about myself and it’s been invaluable in shaping up my future. Sometime this month I took a second to look back on my life five years ago. I’d have never guessed I’d be where I am now, emotionally, physically, even academically, let alone being in England now. It’s a nice feeling to look back and know that you’ve made progress, I mean, if you could write a letter to yourself five years ago, what would it say? Have you surpassed your expectation s or have you settled for mediocrity?

This blog is going to be short, that will give you all a chance to look back I guess, and now having thought about 5 years back, what can you do today that will make you proud to look back on 5 years later?

Make the most of the time you have now to be able to look back and not hold any regrets. University will be fun, though it will also be challenging, foundations are built or destroyed there so don't find yourself looking back crying over spilt milk. Be open to new experiences, new friends, challenge yourself to leave your comfort zone and take every opportunity to do some good that you can. Opportunities here have knock on effects and speaking from experience, some decisions I made in first year will undoubtedly shape the rest of my life. I mean, if I can do it, a guy from a small African country called Zimbabwe, then, so can you right?

Live. Love. Laugh.