In my role as a community champion and the Face of Kenya UK I am delighted when I am invited to participate in a largely community based program and allows me to engage with the community, to learn and assimilate with different cultures of diversity, all the while broadening my knowledge and inspiring me.
My encounters at the fair were inspirational individuals within the community making a difference and being a beacon of hope to others within their communities. A lady who I was enthused to meet at the fair whose incredible achievements and contributions to society astounded me is Joyce Bleastille-Lumsden, originally from Grenada. As I sat down with her, she candidly told me the details of her life that I knew it was imperative to share her story and made me all the more appreciate of the position I am in to be able to encounter people from all backgrounds and to share their story on this platform to the outside world.
Joyce moved to the UK in the 1960s, she recounted her journey to the UK by sea which 21 days, she came to the UK through the British council for oversea students to do nursing. Having previously worked as a nurse fro 2 years in Grenada, she went on to attain her registered nurse/midwife British TBA association qualification. She also worked as a district nurse and a practical work teacher, but due to a back injury she took an early retirement in 1973. Not content with settling into normalcy, she forged ahead with doing charity work. Joyce is a member of the Grenada voluntary hospital committee UK that provides support to hospitals and elderly homes in Grenada. She also visits 9 schools in Croydon to encourage the youth to fulfill their goals in life and to set their benchmarks for goals higher and much wider as she has.
Remarkably that isn't all, Joyce was recently featured in a book funded by the NHS entitled Many Rivers by Ann Cramer. Joyce's mention in the book notes and pays homage to her contribution as well as the history of the Caribbean contribution to the NHS.
Not only has she made an impact in her native Grenada, her home in UK but she also lends her support to a charity in Burundi and is a sponsor for the Mama Philli Bursary program.
I was in complete awe of the phenomenal lady whose achievements in the community and evident input in the lives of others is amazing!
Speaking to her about the commonwealth fair, she said what draws her to this event and has been for many years is the need to support the community and empower youth women and men and especially a chance to expose the diaspora youth to different cultures. It is a great event where all nationalities sit, enjoy and eat together. As we spoke Joyce had a scarf she had purchased that day at the fair from Ghana with the intricate colours of the Ghanaian flag beautifully draped over her shoulders, now if that isn't a form of embracing and appreciating other cultures I don't know what is!
I enjoyed spending the day with fellow beauty queen -Malkia- Miss Commonwealth Tanzania
I also met and had a great chat with Miss Teen Caribbean UK 2014-Gabrielle Joseph, a contest about young girls with Caribbean heritage. Gabriel represents Trinidad &b Tobago, at the young age of 14 she is full of enthusiasm and huge aspirations. Not allowing anything in life to deter her, Gabriel wants to help other young girls like her who have dyslexia to inspire them, to show them that they too can achieve anything and have the confidence to speak to large crowds and win a title as she has. It was a pleasure to meet her, with such resolve and motivation she is surely poised for greatness!
More to come from ..The Miss Commonwealth Beauty Contest 2014