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Through the Fire – Chileshe Mumbi

Chileshe Mumbi is a woman who has come through the fire – literally.  Instead of the usual Q&A, we will let her tell her story her way.   We never know how strong we can be until we have no choice but to be strong.   Chileshe, thank you for sharing your story of strength and inspiration.

Chileshe lives in Zambia with her son.

On December 19th 2009, around 9:00 am, which was an hour after I left home for work, I received a phone call from my next door neighbor that my house was on fire.  I got confused.  I didn’t know where to go.  The company I used to work for had a driver take me home.  By the time I got home, the entire house was in ashes and everything in it, including my legal documents like the birth certificate for my son who was just 1 1/2, all my school certificates and diplomas were gone.  Everything was gone.  All we had literally, were the clothes on our backs – my son and I.


I asked the maid who watched my son in my home what happened and she remained ignorant about everything.  She said she was outside and came back in to get something from the bedroom and the bedroom was on fire.  She called for rescue but by the time they arrived,  the whole  house was in engulfed in flames.


Life became rough and tough especially given the fact that I am a single mom.  I had no one to run to for help except my relatives.  They didn’t give much help apart from comforting words.  I cried without stopping as I tried to figure out how I would feed my baby and how I would dress him.  A few people donated some clothes and gave me money to buy food and clothes for my son and myself.


I lost totally everything and I had to get leave from work, as I needed much time to settle the whole thing.  My then employers only gave me 10 days leave.  I felt this was not enough time for me to start life over again.  They gave me a loan of 4,000,000 zambian kwacha which is 800 US dollars.  The money I was given seemed not to be enough, as I was confused and didn’t know what to buy first.  But I thank God for giving me the wisdom and the strength.  I bought a few clothes for Emmanuel (my son) and myself.


My dear friends, loosing everything you have in life is something that is more or less compared to losing your loved one.  After what I went through, I have learned that in life you have to remain focused regardless of what is going on.  I am a very positive, hard working person and I always believe in myself.  Through determination, hard work and with GOD I was able to pull through this situation.


During my leave I developed a very serious high blood pressure condition.  The doctors said if I was not going to get over what was going on I may just collapse and die.  So I had to control my thinking.  Believe me it was not an easy road.  What made it even worse was that my then employers used to pay our salaries very late.   Sometimes we would go for 3 months without getting paid and all that made my life and stay very difficult.


I was also in the process of looking for a better job.  And though much was going on during this whole situation, I told myself never to give up on the job search.  I kept looking for jobs all over the country.   I sent applications to almost each and every job advertisement I came across if it sounded similar to my qualifications and experience.


Finally on 23rd of April 2010 I received a phone call inviting me for an interview which was held on the 26th of April.  I told myself this is the time for me to move on with my life.  Luckily, on the same date as the interview I was sent to Lusaka (the capital city of Zambia) for training and that is where the interview was held.   So I had an opportunity to attend both the training and interview.


The 26th of April finally came and I interviewed for the position, but was told it was very competitive.  I understand though that things happen in God’s time and no one can change that.   Two days later after my interview I received another phone call to say I was the successful candidate and I was offered the position of Project Administrator.  It was in Chom town, which is the southern part Zambia.  I was so excited, I cried and I prayed to God like no man’s business for the wonderful opportunity that came forth.


Since I had to relocate from the northern to the southern part, the company that offered me the job graciously paid for my moving costs.  That made the move so much easier for me.


Right now my son and I are happy.  I have managed to buy a piece of land where I want to start building a house and my son will be starting his pre-grade next January.