Michelle RamdhaniePeterborough Regional Health Centre
I’m Michelle, to tell my story is to give thanks. The African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” is very true of my life. My story includes a global village from the Caribbean twin island of T&T to the wide open spaces of Canada, and the beautiful green hills of Wales, diverse ethnic groups, languages and people groups across the globe. The story of my life must include the love and grace of many and their willingness to share off their time, knowledge, kindness and experiences with me.
My story also includes the hard work of parents who did their best to build a life for their family, and, while they were not perfect, the lessons I learned from them continue to inform my decisions today. Learning to cook with my dad, trying to use a sewing machine in my mother’s workshop; or attempting to weld as my father turned his back. Growing up in a home where there was always space for someone in need, my father’s constant reminder to me as we cook – even when we may have a little, there is always enough to share.
My life includes a deep love for the ocean and being able to swim until it was dark and my fingers were wrinkled. My willingness to complete household chores as quickly as possible so that we could (my siblings, cousins and neighbor’s family) run away to ocean. I often reflect on the many adventures of raising goats so we could buy our school uniforms and supplies. I now recognize the benefits of being able to manage unruly male goats and being able to passionately defend their need to access the green grass in the savanna – skills that continue to serve me well.
While there have been many challenges and I’m sure many more to come, I am thankful for the lessons I continue to learn. I think of myself as an optimist, a curious learner and an unrealistic optimist- being able to see the possibilities in any challenge. I also think that in being a curious learner it positions me to learn from everyone and every situation. I have found that the children in my life are sometimes the best teachers and a constant reminder to be childlike is to live a life of adventure. Being a curious learner opens my heart and mind to always being in awe of all creation and creatures.
My life is rich because of the generosity of those I am privileged to call my friends – truly they have become my family. I have been privileged to learn from their stories, the challenges we’ve experienced and value the honour of being included in their journeys.
To tell my story is to tell of my awe of the love of Christ. My faith in Jesus and the love he demonstrated anchors me when the storms come – to think that love made a way that I would also know love and share this incredible love is humbling to me. This love captures my heart every moment and still my soul when turmoil rises; this enduring love causes courage to rise up when I feel the weight of world on my shoulders. In the words of Maya Angelo – “Leaving behind nights of terror and fear – I rise; Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear – I rise; Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise, I rise, I rise.”