Georgina’s Irish souvenirs
“These souvenirs allowed me to appreciate the small things I have in life, living each day as it is and building resilience within. I collected them whenever I travelled locally and when I volunteer at any GIAF event. Living in direct provision is a different lifestyle, regardless of the fact that it is essential to have a roof in your head and food on the table. Creating your own survival tactics heals the soul, builds the strength within and brings hope. As someone who was self-aware, I realised that it would be difficult to erase the old memories I had from Zimbabwe and shift my mind from the negative impacts of direct provision that I was regularly facing. I thought of a way of quickly integrating whilst I was practising self-care, socially and mentally.
“Through travelling, I learnt a lot about Irish history and culture. The trips allowed me to network and meet more friends from different backgrounds and countries. I created lifetime networks, both on a personal and professional level.
I spend several years in direct provision. My college friends would talk about their summer holidays plans and I would keep quiet admiring them as I like travelling a lot. Due to my situation’s nature, not being able to travel to any places outside Ireland, I developed my own strategy. I came up with the idea of embracing the little I had, celebrating the gift of life and thinking of how better off I was comparing myself with people going through a lot in my village 37, Boyce in Sanyati, Zimbabwe. I had to do piece jobs in my spare time to raise the money for the local Irish-based summer trips. Indeed, I managed to visit a good few places.
To complement that, I made sure that I would volunteer on most of the Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF) events, mainly at the Big Top and the First Thought Talks as well as the Galway2020 European Capital of Culture. I kept souvenirs for the purpose of reconnecting myself. That helped me discover or realise that I had a passion for Arts; it was hidden when I was back in my country Zimbabwe. I didn’t know of my love for Arts when I was in my home country due to a lack of resources and exposure. So that’s why I had to keep the souvenirs with me.
The souvenirs helped me settle well in Ireland and made me feel like Galway is my first home. I feel motivated and challenged by what I learnt through travelling and attending First Thought Talks, which pushed my limits to feel like excelling and learnt more so that I will change the world one day. Health wise, it helped me concentrate on positive things, therefore assisting me in beating the mental health challenge, which comes with waiting for permission to reside in the State.
I keep the souvenirs in my main document folder, where I keep my important documents such as birth certificates and college certificates in an envelope.”