Sharing stories in honour of International Women’s Day

Amanda Jess
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NEW GLASGOW – Bijou Dlamini’s life hasn’t been easy. 

Her past is something she tries not to focus on. However, she shared her story with all the women that packed into the Celtic Circle’s basement on Saturday to celebrate International Women’s Day with four of Pictou County’s influential and talented women: Dlamini, Doris Mason, Sheree Fitch and Wendy Hughes.

“As women, we tend to keep feelings to ourselves and move on,” she said, adding that maybe her story can help others.

Dlamini prayed to God for many years that she would have parents that love her as she is.

She found that in Buhle and Stacey Dlamini, her adoptive parents.

They visited Bijou at an orphanage in South Africa that she ended up in after fleeing Congo with her uncle in search of a safe place.

“Now that I’m looking at my past, it’s like a dream come true.”

Although many couples look to adopt younger children, Bijou said she was thankful her parents were willing to take in a teenager.

With her mother being from Pictou Couny, it made sense for Bijou to move to Hopewell in 2008 to begin bettering her education.

The 24-year-old now babysits two children, Noah and Colin, that she “loves to pieces.”

“A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water,” she said.

Wendy Hughes spoke about the stories she’s heard from working at the YMCA with immigration services from women that have moved to the area.

She noted that the transition can be difficult in a smaller town as it’s easy to feel isolated, especially when you’re from another country.

She said often women that move here from other countries don’t have anyone to connect with from their own country.

Adjusting to a new way of life in terms of food, culture, and climate on top of isolation can lead to depression, she said.

However, the YMCA aids in the transition, as does the multicultural association.

“There’s lots of challenges, but they still love it,” she said about many of the women she’s met.

PARL’s writer-in-residence, Sheree Fitch, can attest to being from away and falling in love with the county.

She reminisced about doing a reading at a Stellarton school in 1987.

“Someday I’m going to live there,” she thought afterwards. She now lives in River John.

Although primarily a children’s author, Fitch shared a number of poems for adults during the lunch.

She dedicated one about an Inuit woman who skinned seals in the North to Loretta Saunders, an aboriginal woman found dead in New Brunswick.

“Everybody has stories. If International Women’s Day is about anything, whether we’re in South Africa or Belize, there are certain things we all share,” Fitch said.

On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda

Organizations: YMCA, Stellarton school

Geographic location: South Africa, Pictou County, Buhle River John New Brunswick Belize

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