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WHO AM I? In this paper I am going to use Erickson theory Stage one; Trust and mistrust (0-1year) . My name is Amani Marie Anuarite Ndatabaye. All my names have a meaning according to my culture and the view of my parents on me and their wish on my future. First of all, I am called Amani because the moment my mother was pregnant there were many conflicts in the family. Secondly the family expected her to give birth to a boy child, because the first born was a boy, the second a girl and therefore the third child has to be a baby boy.
She was happy with my pregnancy because it was the easiest to carry comparing to the two first one. They prepared everything concerning clothes for they expected boy child.
Finally, when my mother gave birth to me, I was a girl. It was a miracle for the Family. Everybody in the family wanted to come and see the baby.
As they were coming to appreciate a baby, they could identify on me some traits from some of our beloved grandparents in the family. As most of the family met that day at the Hospital, they agreed to give me the name of Amani, which means peace. Since then my family became again united. I grew up with a lot of love and support from my family members and my parents. My mum was telling me that everybody in the village wanted to go with me for mass and bring me back home.
All this makes me feel loved and proud of myself. I build up myself confidence and trust . The fact that I always see myself as beautiful, I was not ready to socialize with those who are not like me. I was choosing to whom to talk and greet, but today after a long formation I have changed. Because of this background I grew up with a gift of socialization and good relationships with others specially in my family. When there is a conflict in the family they always refer to me in order to unit and help in reconciling people. I have realized also that I am a peaceful woman, in some situation, even when it is hard, I do not worry a lot, the worry is just for a moment and after I feel in peace. This helps me to take things in a positive way and reflect on the issue. I am a joyful girl, as I grew up I always see my parents with joy and beautiful smile.
Joining religious life, I come to understand that this gift of joy is a greater one and that I received it from God in order to share my joy with sad and angry people. It has helped me to give life and save it in different countries and through different situation. I am glad to God. Growing with my grandmother and parents, I learnt from them how to collaborate. I am discovering today that this collaboration is very important. I enjoy doing and collaborating with others. I have realized that I like helping those in need, especially in my community. Even if nobody asks me for help, when I see the person in need I propose myself. I have to pay attention and discern today because I am realizing that some time my sisters ask for help in what they do not like to do; therefore, I have to make sure that my help is not going to make other people lazy. I was born in Bukavu province, which is located in the Republic Democratic of Congo. We were born ten children; four girls and six boys.
Our last born boy has just died. I am a third born and a second Girl. I was a loved and trustful child of my parents. Since I decided to join religious life my parents and family at large lost their trust in me and I lost their love. I hope that one day it will come back again. After two months, I was given to my grandmother who was living in the same compound with my parents. She was the one who took care of me. Everyday my Dad could not sleep without seeing me and make sure that I was doing well. Living with my grandmother, did not allow me to develop all my potential as other children. Everything was done for me. I did not have an opportunity to play with other children. She formed me according to what she wishes me to become. A good woman or a ’princess’ as herself was from the royal Family. I learnt how to walk, to talk and to be more attractive. Being the third born, loved and thrusted and specially growing with my grandmother, I did not learn how to do practical things. Joining formation house of sisters, my life become hard, I did not know how to wash or to clean the house even how to iron cloths. As everything was done for me, I developed a sense of disorganization. I am a disorganized person, but I am working on it and there is a lot of improvement. I was also very lazy, even if I am near a plant, I will still call someone to come and give it to me. since I started working on it, I have developed the gift of courage and availability.
Yes, I was a spoiled child, but I have first to accept myself with my background and let sisters help me. At 7 years, I met a white lady. She was very simple in her way of interacting with those I used to neglect and call street children. She showed them compassion with nice touch, eyes contact, a beautiful smile. I Was very touched with her behavior. I could not approach her because I was afraid. It was Sunday. I went back home and asked my mum who she was. She told me that she was a catholic Nun from another continent. since then I thought that they must be in other countries some children like in my country who needs someone like this white lady. I told her I will be like her. My mum was unhappy to hear my decision. She tries to discourage me and told me that the nuns live poverty and hard life. Therefore, by respect of my, mother, I gave up in my desire and I promised my mother not to think about it again. My mother always helps other people, and I come to realize that many people in my village did not have the same chance like me and my family. Because of this in mind, I decided that when I will finish school, I will become a doctor in order to help those without help and my family. If not a doctor, I could become a lawyer, to defend those without defense or a journalist to be the voice for the voiceless. Because of it I become confident and decisive. I knew why I was at school. Today it is helping me in religious life to know why I am here and what is my motivation. It also helps me to be who I am and not to copy other sisters. After my secondary school, I decided to join Missionaries life. It was heard to live as a decision because nobody could believe me.
My family and close friend thought that I was starting to become mad. I could not get any support from them, materials, spiritual or physical support. My decision costs me a lot, I lost my friendship, my family support and my reputation. Yes, it was a heard experience, but lived in joy and peacefully moment even though the contradiction of the outside was strong. Today I am happy to be a missionary sister of our lady of Africa. In short, my desire is being fulfilled every day. From here I am discovering that I am someone who do not give up easily especially when I know what I want but in daily life I let go what is not building my life and other’s life. I am proud of myself, with nice fingers and toes, middle size, and chest. I am a talkative and noisy girl but I am also shy in new environment. It takes me a moment to talk to those I do not know. I like music and going out just to relax, but because of religious life and my responsibility, I always find others ways of doing it. I like nyama choma and some beer in a beautiful garden or near the lac. When I am tired, I watch movies and after I feel relaxed. I like African royal movies and American film where the show reconciliation among people. I listen to reflective and deep relaxing music when I am angry for someone, after I feel renewed. I am someone who like wearing expensive and tired clothes, but it has its meaning from my background. Being in religious life, I am learning simplicity and humility in my daily life. Through different subject here at Tangaza I am discovering that I have some defense mechanism. Sometimes I find myself in rationalism, whereby I take situations in a positive way that I will not harm myself. Altruism is the one which help me to satisfy my internal needs through helping others. I find myself using this mechanism most of the times especially in this life as a religious. The second part of this presentation is going to talk about my choices of studies. I mentioned early my ambitions, counselling was not part of them.
In my country Congo, we have another view of all things dealing with psychology as things which concerned made people. I felt traumatized when I left my family to join religious. Family has never allowed me to go in this life. I decided myself and I left home without their permission. Then they decided to burn me from the family. I felt rejected and I could not get any help from them. I could pass near my father without greeting each other. I used to cry every time I come from outside because people used to laugh at me. I cried because of the loos of the love, trust and confidence of my parents. I depended on my companions to buy for me clothes because I did not have money. I felt humiliated to depend on my companions who were coming from poor family.me. I was not used to ask, or care for myself I expected sisters to do everything for me. I had difficulties to express my feelings. Since I grew up, I knew only one feeling, I am happy, so I did not have time to express others. In order to help me I went to a counsellor. She welcomed me well. She took me as I was with my realities. I trusted her and she helped me.
My decision was to do the same for others. When I joined religious life, my first mission was to teach in primary school as I am a teacher by profession. After two years, I was sent in Burkinafasso for the novitiate where I worked with people living with lepers. During this time, I realized the important of listen. Listening to them was a sign of showing respect, and recognized their dignity as other human being. I discovered that their desire was not for materials things but for somebody just to say I am here for you can talk to me. I learn how to put myself in others shoes to feel what they are experiencing. My presence offered them support and comfort in their difficulties. A year later I was sent to ouanga in the capital of Burkinafasso to work with women who are accused to of soccer. They are rejected by their family member and all the society. When I reached in this center, I was shaken up to see the life they were living and the wound they have in their life. Being with them in the center, I was like an angel for them. This experience influenced my life. I felt a strong desire of helping others and I leant how to listen without judging or considering the person because of what she has done or she doing but because she is a human being. At a certain moment, I was leaving a hard experience in my life and with my family. I was depressed and withdraw almost with everything. I started isolating myself from other sister in the community. I lost appetite, and the taste of life. Yes, it was a hard moment. One of the sister noticed that I have changed my behavior and that I was having a tuff moment. She accompanied me to a psychiatric. I took ten sessions with him. When I got helped, I felt a strong desire of helping other who may be having also difficulties in their life.
This experience influenced a lot my choices, even today, when I look back, I feel that is very important to welcome others and listen to them with empathy After Two years again, I was sent to Rwanda where I developed love for young people. I enjoyed listening to their stories and I felt affected by their problems. From this moment I started thinking of what I can do in order to help them to come out from their problem and help them to think differently. I year later, I was appointed as a vocation director in Rwanda. This was a hard mission for me because I did not have any skills. I met many young people who wished to become sisters and who were traumatize with different experiences of being raped by some priest and others people in the society. Others were discouraged to join family life because of the bad experiences witnessed in their families between their parents. All these experiences influenced my life and the choice of the studies I wished to do . All these experience has influenced my life specially in the choice of the studies. When I was asked to come for studies, I chose to do counselling first of all in order to accept myself with my strength and weaknesses. To know myself and learn other skills for personal therapy. To work on myself and get empowered for who to cope to accept the reality with my family and cope with it.
Becoming a counsellor will help me to change my attitudes towards my parents, my family members, and to welcome them and accept the situation. This will be through my personal therapy. I am working on my attitudes. Because I always say, if my parents do not want to make the first step, I will not be the first one. I want to be a counsellor because of my own background. There is different moment of my life I wish to deal with. Every day I need to do self-therapy. I feel a need to know myself more and accept myself as I am. Accepting myself with my gift and weakness will allow me to accept others in their own gifts and weakness. This will include respect toward others and me. I will learn how to listen to my inner desire and act upon them. Secondly, I want to become a counsellor for helping others in their hard, joyful and difficulties moment I realized the need of doing counselling in order to help people living with lepers to accept themselves with their situations and find where of who to integrate them in the society. To help people to find ways of accepting themselves especially young people in their hard moment.to empower young people with skills which can help them to cope with their daily life situation. To confirm them in their gifts and capacities. I want to listen to them without judging as people did for me.
Many people have told me that I have a gift of reconciliation, and listening. I want to use them for the service of others. Finally Having all these situations and desire within me, I gave up in my childhood’s ambitions, for the purpose of helping other people I chose psychology. Unfortunately, the congregation made a choice for me because of the need they had: child and youth studies. Counselling techniques is one of my courses. I was motivated to do it now because the congregation has told me to do counselling after BA in child and youth studies. Why I am very motivated to do counselling? . Today I am able to cope with life and feel proud with my choice even though my relationship with my parent still not good. Many things happened to me in community life.
Therefore, after being who I am today, accepting myself with my background, rereading my vocation, I asked again the congregation to let me do counselling in order to help other young ladies who will be in the same situation. I realized that what helped me to come out it was deep listening skills of other people, empathy, the unconditioned love, support got from counselors, my sisters, and their presence. I want also to listen to others, to love them with unconditional love, and without judging them. I realized that each person’s story is sacred. That is why I want to be a counsellor for others and me. It is every day that I have to grow and work on myself. I am very happy with this course and the studies I am doing. I am really enjoying it. I am learning a lot about myself and how to help others.
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