17 April, 2010

Everyday Heroes V

Everyday heroes we encounter are important influences on our lives. They have the ability to alter our thinking and, often, even the direction of our decision-making. This post is part of a series I am writing about the heroes I have met.


Name: Ruth
Profession: corporate law
Marital Status: married
Children: a daughter
Place of Origin: Cameroon

How we met:

Ruth came to live in Germany with her young daughter a year and a half ago. She came in the dead of winter. Ruth knew how to speak German and she had conscientiously studied all the facts and figures of this new country she was marrying into. What she couldn’t learn in the warm and wonderful climate of Douala, was what winter cold feels like. How deep damp winter weather can hurt you teeth and bones.

How the winter darkness can sap all the residues of sunny joy stored from childhood memories from the marrow of those bones.

How impenetrable are the blank facades in the faces of her German neighbours.

How confusing is the bureaucratic machinery that every citizen and resident must comply to.

Yet, Ruth proves to have more resilience and resourcefulness and quiet charm than all those dour beings and circumstances that are scattering stones in her way. She has forged loving relationships with her new extended family. She has become mightily efficient at navigating herself around the labyrinth called German bureaucracy. She’s helped her daughter find a place in her new neighbourhood. She has become a wise and kind friend.

What she has shown me:

She has shown an ability to move with assurance in a strange culture. She has show me that even if you are confused and at times desperate, you can’t stop moving in the general direction you see as forward. Whether it is forward or not, is almost irrelevant, just take purposeful steps as best you can.


  1. I like these posts. They remind me of the spirit that is within all of us to meet adversity head on!

  2. What a wonderful portrait you paint.

  3. What a wonderful warm portrait! I just love this series...

  4. A return visit to see your collage. Stunning.