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"The Journey"...by Tracey Jane Bell

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

Her name was Jane West nee Weier. My beautiful late mom, Standing at no more than 5"-4, she made up for that in her towering presence where philanthropy was concerned. She was the epitome of a woman of substance.


We always had “stray people" in and out of our house. A house that was already so full with six of my siblings. I was too young to understand then, but now I do. Her heart was big enough to accommodate everyone. In her very quiet, unassuming way, she just got on with the business of being “there for us all”. We had precious little ourselves, yet she always had a way of making sure there was at least one decent meal on the table, humble as it was.


My siblings would relate to how difficult those times were before I arrived (I am the youngest of 7). Mom would be a part of the women’s guild in a sleepy little hollow called Gwanda in the then Rhodesia. Working her way to being the president of the institution. How she would sacrifice so much to make sure somehow we were all clothed, fed, and, even more importantly, educated. A talented seamstress and faith-filled woman, she would often make aprons to sell to earn a “few shillings,” as she would say. Always on the lookout for where she could help, she quietly just got on with it. There was no Facebook or Instagram in those days to “show” what she was doing or even talk about it. No accolades, no glory-seeking... But such was the way of so many of our grande ladies who went before us.


I am just so grateful that I was able to garner so much during the time she was with me. I was gifted a great teacher in the ways of philanthropy, the ways of giving back, the ways of forgiveness and love, and the ways of a strong faith. You see, I find that so many don’t quite get it. It should never be about anything other than helping your fellowman where and when you can. To not cross on the other side of the road to avoid the discomfort of dealing with a homeless person... to be able to put out your hand to take another's hand in yours and say, "I am here for you," and you do not need to repay me. To not make a song and dance about what you do. It should be about the fulfilment of being a part of something greater than yourself. doing things with no expectation of reward. My journey then begins with my humble upbringing, from leaving Gwanda at 2 years old to flying across the oceans, emigrating from Zimbabwe, to finally reside in the UK. Far from my homeland and all that I loved and knew, but now in a position to emulate all that Mom tried so hard to achieve in the ways of giving back... ( to be cont ..)


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