The following story was narrated to TWSC contributor Naume Mubure.
My name is Dzidzai Gugulethu Mhazo, a 30-year-old single mother. I got pregnant when I was in high school doing Upper Six. I had to sit for my examinations pregnant, and it was not easy. I had to deal with all the morning sickness and pregnancy symptoms so that no one would suspect me at school. I managed to complete all my examinations, and I passed with nine points. I was proud of myself because I believed I had failed to keep my promise of having a child out of wedlock, so when I passed it was a relief that at least I managed to do my studies well. The father of the child just went quiet and they could not be together. My parents supported me so much, and they took care of the medical expenses and preparation.
When my baby was three months old, I had to leave her so that I could go to university for my undergraduate degree at Midlands State University in Gweru, Zimbabwe. After completing my degree, I started doing temporal teaching until the minister of education announced that unqualified teachers were no longer allowed at schools. I then became jobless.
I then went to Botswana to search for a job, and I stayed with one of my uncles. Unfortunately, he passed away three weeks ago due to COVID-19. He did everything for me, and unfortunately, for four months I could not get a job, so I went back home [to] Bulawayo, Zimbabwe to my parents, and I was jobless for two years.
Later on, I tried doing forex trading, and I went for lessons. It was there when I got a job as a receptionist at an engineering company, and I stayed for only a year because the boss was a bit ungrateful. I got an offer to work in the UK from this person, but then I had no visa, so I just forgot about it.
In 2018, I had a terrible heartbreak from the relationship I was in. I was emotionally down, so I decided to go to school at Catholic University to study for a certificate in project management monitoring and evaluation. I was told I was late because the other students were already one month ahead, so I had to beg to be enrolled, and I completed my certificate.
I applied for my visa for the UAE. Before it was out, I started saying my goodbyes to people, and I had all my bags packed already. By the grace of God, [I got my visa] and I went to Dubai.
When I got to Dubai, I stayed in a room with six people, and I was paying $160 for just a space to sleep and my bag. I prayed to God that I did not want to be jobless for long like other people whom I shared the room with.
I got a job at a furniture shop on my second week as a salesperson, and I was so happy, so I went to sign an offer letter. And as I was waiting to start work, I was called for another interview [in] customer service at a museum. The following day, I was called to come and sign the offer letter because I was successful in the interview. I had to cancel the first offer for salesperson, and up to now I work at the museum.
During my 10th month, COVID happened, and the company closed, but we were getting our full salaries. I was going crazy from sitting at home. I had asked for voluntary work in [the] health and safety department since it is what I wanted to do for the longest time. They called me and offered me some voluntary work. Whilst doing voluntary work, I started studying for a health and safety certificate, and I got a permanent job in the department.
As a single mother and out of the country. I have to work so hard to provide for my baby and also take care of my parents. My cousin Patience also took care of my daughter like [her] own for two years. It has not been easy, and now I lost my job because our contract with the company is expiring on the 15th of September, and a new company is coming to take over. I started looking for a job to sustain myself and send money home. I got a job by the grace of God, which pays me more than my previous job.
Being a single mother is so hard because you have to be both the mother and father to your child. I have been thanking God all my life because [I am] in a foreign country with some people more experienced than I who are jobless, but I am grateful because I have a job.
My advice is to work hard. Of course, you need to pray and ask God for miracles, but still work hard, have a career mentor, study hard; and that way, you will achieve your dreams. What is important is to believe.