Trish Hakata: From Planning the Wedding of her Dreams to Testing Positive for COVID-19

Trish Hakata is a former banker, driver for social change and entrepreneur passionate about improving business with an emphasis on women and the youth. She told The Weight She Carries that with every business or project she takes part in, she ensures there is a human feel to it and always has an element of human improvement along with it.

“I had always wanted to study law, but because of not much career guidance and research, I ended up studying political science, which I did not particularly like,” she said. “I gathered work experience in different sectors over the years and ended up working for a bank. The job paid well, but I felt constrained as my vision was bigger than where I found myself, so I decided to delve into social entrepreneurship.”

She opened Thymeless Gourmet, a farm-to-fork restaurant, which means she grows all the produce that she uses in her restaurant. She is also the founder of the GoGetter movement, which creates a convening platform for a network of women doing outstandingly well in various sectors. She was inducted in The Gumiguru 40 under 30 young emerging leaders in 2018 and became a Mandela Washington fellow in 2019. That same year, she was also one of the JCI Top Outstanding Young Persons.

Trish is also a Member of Global Shapers Community (Initiative of the World Economic Forum), Director Toastmasters International (2019-2020), a committee member for African Women Leaders Network (AWLN), an initiative of UNWomen, and a YouthSpark Africa ambassador. Additionally, she penned a journal called “Her Big Dreams Journal,” which helps women plan and track their dreams.

Trish spoke about the circumstances leading to her COVID-19 tests.

“I was not feeling well and felt a mild flu as my fiancé and I were going to get passport-size photos for processing our marriage license. At that time, he began to feel body aches, so we decided to go get tested. Mind you, this was on a Tuesday, and our wedding was on the following Saturday.”

Despite their decision to test for COVID-19, she was convinced she just had a flu. The first test was just a rapid test (this test detects protein fragments specific to the coronavirus and results may be ready in 15 minutes), but the doctor advised that they go for the PCR test (which detects RNA or genetic material that is specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection, even for those who have no symptoms) as it would be more conclusive.

“We did the test and left for the magistrate’s office to process our marriage license but found the court closed. The doctor called the following day and advised that I was positive and my fiancé was negative,” she said. “This COVID reality began to gradually sink and as it did, it got harder to wrap my head around. What made it harder was the fact that the very same day was supposed to be my hen party and my mom’s birthday. I called my mom and told her of the unfortunate development. Calling my friends to postpone the hen party and telling them I had tested positive [for] COVID-19 was tough as nails, but they were beyond supportive.

“Over the weeks that followed, my fiancé and I would talk about it a lot, and I was emotional because of the plans and progress we had made. We drafted the message to guests, advising them of the postponement. Some advised me to not mention I’d contracted COVID. I felt I had to be honest so as to also protect those who had been around me.”

“I really do not know how I got it, but I know why I got it. I was not wearing my mask all the time; I wouldn’t socially distance. Cases had gone down and I kind of relaxed.”

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Trish provided insight into her regimen after testing positive for COVID-19.

“When I got tested, I isolated, but my fiancé was daily with me, making me food and medication, always available, making sure I was comfortable. I managed my health by drinking lots of fluids, resting, keeping warm, steaming, drinking lemon, honey and ginger, green tea, vitamin c, melatonin for sleep and paracetamol. My doctor had advised that since I had mild symptoms, I should not take antibiotics and [should instead] focus on natural remedies in case I got worse [in which case] the medication would then not work well.”

Trish opened up about the challenges she faced, which included having to postpone her wedding with the money that had already been spent and knowing that some relatives were travelling from as far as Europe.

“I had to advise [the service providers] there and then. Some of them were very understanding; they would wish me well. Some would, however, advise that they had already done as expected and I should have advised [them] before, which was harsh as I did not know that I would test positive. My fiancé and family were very supportive throughout,” she said.

She also struggled with feeling idle and not being able to interact with people. She even had anxiety attacks as a result of being overwhelmed.

Despite lockdown in Zimbabwe being extended for another two weeks, Trish remains hopeful that she will get to enjoy her special day in the near future.

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