In 1998 I met Prisca Maholo a counselor and an activist by coincidence. I was scheduled
to meet with a male counselor who was delayed along the way and Prisca offered to provide counselling to me that day.
Talking to this vibrant woman was life saving I felt loved and understood I wished I had talked to her in 1995 when I got to know about my HIV status I can remember vividly how I cried and cried. Narrating the story of my mom who had mental illness the death of my daughter and the anger I had towards God, my ex partner, and the world. Although I was there for post-test counselling, talking about my other issues helped me deal with HIV related issues This experience shaped the way I
provide support to women now from a holistic approach. After
migrating to Canada I participated in research projects, wearing different hats as a peer, service provider, community
expert, research assistant, and recruiter. My interaction with the women gives me the opportunity to bring hope to women who might have given up hope through challenges that they faced throughout their journeys. As a woman, I am a caregiver, a wife, a mother, a sister, and a friend, who is shaped by values community values. As a Zimbabwean, I have those things that I believe. I
come from a collective society so if someone shares their story with you, it’s not just their story, it becomes part of your story. But social work values force me to
detach from who I am. I am bound by ethics, professionalism, and boundaries. When I am at high level meetings or conferences, I am expected to
bring the voice of my community but the voice of my community is diverse I can never wear all the hats at the
same time I can either be seen as a traitor or a hero depending on what hat I’m
wearing that day It leaves me with the question, how then
do I continue giving hope to my peers in an authentic way like Prisca did for me at same time maintaining the
professionalism. Why can’t we have the best of both worlds the experience that I had in Africa and the experience that I have now in Canada for the benefit of the community that I serve.