By AmeriCare, March 1, 2011
There are all types of stories.
Stories that are told to entertain. Stories told to inspire.
There are stories about superheroes with superpowers who swoop in and save the day, and stories about real people living real lives out in the real world. Waking up to jarring alarm clocks, facing the same dreary dramas that we all face, dealing with them like we all do: sometimes well, sometimes not as well as we’d like.
Then, there are stories about people who are a blend of both. Regular people who act in extraordinary ways. And when we encounter such people, when we hear their stories, they often have the power to bring out the greatness in us all.
This is the story of Bianca Mashorokoto, an AmeriCare caregiver, and a few of the lessons she has learned caring for a lovely ninety-two-year-young lady named Miss Brown.
Bianca moved to America from Zimbabwe in June of 2009, just three days after marrying her husband and father to her three year old fraternal twins. She lives with her mother and five siblings while she works to support her family back in Zimbabwe, who she plans to return to one day soon.
Bianca has always been a caregiver. “I’ve always taken care of people,” she says. “My father, my cousins, my aunt, my grandmother, my brothers and sisters before they moved to America. I love taking care of people.” Perhaps this altruistic attitude is a result of guidance from her grandmother, “My grandmother always told me, ‘Let your heart beat for others. Think of other people before you think of yourself and you’ll always be happy.’”
So, it’s no surprise that after graduating from Durham Technical Community College, Bianca sought out ways in which she could help others, responding to an ad from AmeriCare calling for caregivers. This is when she was paired with her current client, Miss Brown, and her graduate work began.
Before coming to America, Bianca admits that she thought the good life was a birthright for most Americans “When people talk about America, they say that it’s easy to live a good life,” Bianca says, “but I’ve learned that you have to work for what you get. You have to get up and work to support your family.”
Bianca has learned this lesson well. She wakes up every morning at the crack of dawn to catch the first of two buses that get her to Miss Brown’s by 8am, where she works seven days a week, twelve to thirteen hours every day. At the end of each day, she takes two buses back home, arriving around 9:30pm, helps out around the house, then heads off to bed in order to get ready to do it all over again.
Sounds like a lot of work. Not to Bianca. She enjoys keeping busy, and finds deep purpose in a life dedicated to serving others. “I’m here to help Miss Brown, but it doesn’t feel like that,” she says. “We’re really here to help each other, so I feel like we’re just friends.”
Bianca sees how strong-willed and rebellious the American youth can be. At twenty-five, she feels blessed to be exposed to the wisdom that our elders can impart, expressing gratitude for the lessons she has learned while caring for her client. “Miss Brown shares her wisdom and advice with me,” says Bianca. “She teaches me about marriage, how to never go to bed angry. She teaches me about love and commitment when raising children. I am learning a lot from her about patience, about how patience pays, about how goodness pays. She teaches me a lot. When I come to work, I don’t feel like I’m working. I feel like I’m at home.”
Bianca has a few words of wisdom to impart herself, especially to other people who, voluntarily or not, assume the challenging role of caregiver. “The advice I would give is to smile,” she says. “People say that when they’re upset, they look forward to my smile. And when you give a smile, you usually get one in return.”
“If I’m upset inside,” she goes on to say, “I pray about it, and in the morning I just get up and say, ‘This is the day the Lord has made. I’m beautiful. I love myself. I’m here today to do something good. And if I do something good, God will grant me another day.’”
Keeping true to her grandmother’s sage advice, Bianca finds happiness through putting others first, “Let your heart beat for others and you will always be blessed. I make sure that Miss Brown is happy no matter what. I always put her first.”
According to Miss Brown’s family, she was reluctant to get out of bed before Bianca arrived. Now, she engages in two to three activities a day. She is more energetic and full of life. She actually EATS!
“I believe that when you love, love wholeheartedly. And that when you trust, trust wholeheartedly. Try to be good, and everything will be fine.” With an outlook like this, it’s no wonder that Bianca has had a positive influence on Miss Brown’s well being.
Bianca is still saving money, anticipating her return to Zimbabwe, but it is more than financial support that she’ll bring home to her family. “I’ve learned so much about showing love to others. I can’t wait to go home and use what I’ve learned here, and hope to love even more.”
Bianca Mashorokoto works for the Chapel Hill, NC chapter of AmeriCare, operated by Eleanor Armstrong. Give her a call if you’re an area resident with Home Care questions or needs. She’ll be happy to help connect you with the perfect caregiver for your specific situation. Just like Bianca and Miss Brown.
Tags: Caregiver Chronicles