She was a lovely, cultured woman with an African heart. She always worked hard for her family and topped the meagre salaries of her husband who worked in a local bakery. In the community she was known as MaSimba but her maiden name was Joyce. Her husband, Prosper, always called her Joy. She was a joy in his life since the day he set his eyes on her twelve years ago. Their love blossomed and the two never looked back and there were blessed with two lovely children. At first the husband’s wages were good enough to support the entire family but when the recession rocketed in their lives, the wife thought of seeking for a job. In two weeks of searching and seeking she got the job after she saw an advert from an old newspaper, which she picked from a rubbish-dumping place. It was in very dirty but she was able to read the advert, and smiled broadly, thanking, Yahweh, and somehow she felt a powerful connection towards the advert, and she believed this was her job, and God had provided for her.
The following day she phoned, the employer, a lovely female posh voice answered her phone call. She explained she had seen the advert and she was looking for a job. The lovely lady on the other end answered her pleasantly and asked her to come to her house immediately. After taken all the details, she dropped down the phone and put her best clothes. She walked out and travelled on the dust meandering road that led her to a tarred road. On the tarred road she waited for a while and saw the expected lift that was described on the phone. The car squealed as it came to a halt. Joyce jumped in and smiled as she greeted the white lady whose hands were tied on the stir wheel.
The two women were happy and the white lady had liked Joyce and showed her whole house, which seemed like a museum. “You will be working, here, cleaning, mopping, hovering, ironing and cooking. Never mind about the garden, we have a garden boy who regularly comes here twice a week.” She stopped talking and looked at Joyce, who looked stunned with entire atmosphere. The house was very beautiful and exquisitely decorated inside and out. The gardens were breathtaking and for a while she thought it was a paradise. She thought of her own house, and thought it was only two bedroom flat with bare floors and less in it, but they always content with their lifestyle. It was the rise of the cost of living that had forced her to go and look for a job. Joyce realised later that the white lady had stopped talking and looked squarely in her eyes. “You have a beautiful house,” Joyce said, “ I love everything about it, the interior and the exterior décor are of excellence,” she added and winked the white lady mischievously that the two ended bursting in laughter. “Thank you for the compliment. I loved Africa and God guided us to what we have. I wouldn’t thank him enough.”
Later the two ladies were drinking as the sun heat of Africa penetrates through the perforated veranda. Joyce had got her first job and went home rejoicing. The husband was happy and children squealed with happiness when they heard their mummy talking that she will be working for a white family and that in the future the children will visit at work and have a braai together.
After eleven months of working, the white lady was thoroughly impressed with Joyce’s work and their relationship was in good swings. She thought of extending an invitation, to Joyce and her family to come for pre Christmas gathering that she always held with friends and relatives at the end of the year. Joyce was genuinely thrilled with the invitations and she couldn’t wait to go home and tell her husband.
When she got home that was her first statement on her mouth and they were excited and started slapping each other on their backs with happiness. They went to bed very late contemplating upon they day they will sit and eat together with white people at the same table for the first time in their lives.
When the day arrived, Joyce woke up early and made sure all her family will be looking elegantly before the host and after that she dashed for work. Upon arriving she busied her in the white lady’s kitchen and prepare all the meals, drinks and setting out the tables immaculately outside the house. It was whilst she was cooking and then it dawned to her that her husband had never used the cutlery and at home they use their naturally God given forks (hands). It gnawed her throughout the preparation and wondered how would she save her husband from embarrassment. A new thought floated in her mind and Joyce laughed as she made the final preparations
When she went outside, more and more people were trickling in and the merrily atmosphere had just begun, and there she saw her husband and children arriving and she ushered them to the tables. Her husband sat among other guests and laughed cheerfully with other guest as if they have met before. He was surprised with the flawless of the party and how ease the whites colleagues were to him as they intermingle and exchanged humour.
Finally it was time for people to start eating, and the white lady asked Joyce to pray for the food. Joyce stood up as all eyes were on her, and thought this was the time to rescue her husband from embarrassment. “Can I pray in Shona? Her question seemed more direct to the white lady but it was open to everyone. “Yes, go on” the entire guest chorused. She sighed with relief and looked at her husband with a language they have always understood each other, and the husband nodded his head as he smiled.
Joyce began to pray in Shona loudly: Let’s all bow down our heads. Baba, she coughed, let the spirit of God guide you as we partake this special meal. To your left hand, baba, you will use the fork, and to the right hand, the spirit of God will tell to use the knife always and the spoon is for the soup, says the Holy spirit, baba. If you did not understand, baba, wait patiently and watch everybody eating, in Jesus’s name and Joyce finished the last words in English. “Amen” Everyone chorused. When she opened her eyes, her husband’s eyes were on her smiling confidently with appreciation. “I never known…” Joyce’s husband stopped in the middle of conversation and realised all ears on the table were prickled up, “ that you are a prayer warrior and saved a wretch like me.”