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...and she took the one less travelled by

Ideas, opinions, stereotypes, misconceptions, misinterpretations... and we might endlessly go ahead enlisting the wide range of attitudes towards Africa. There’s the need of objectivity; there’s the need of appropriate study; there’s the need of keeping minds wide open.

Possibly this was the attitude behind the necessity of organizing a lecture about “Discovering Africa” that Ca’Foscari University of Venice, namely Career Service and Internship Abroad, had: an encounter to introduce new perspectives, to provide with new knowledge and potentially let students browse new career paths.

Therefore, what a fittest occasion to get to know an old acquaintance of us? Twice participant of the Venice Diplomatic Society Models (VeUMUN 2017 and VeUMEU 2018 - take a look at our socials to find out more!), Lamia is a “20- something year old” Zimbabwean girl (as she defines herself in her blog - don’t miss it!) who has (temporarily?) left her homeland to improve her skills, to support other people, to positively impact the World. Enjoy the interview!

1. Where do you come from precisely? What about you origins?

I was born and raised in Zimbabwe and it will always be the place I call home. However, my family is of Somali descent and so a lot of my traditions and food preferences are directly linked to this – for example, I occasionally eat rice with bananas on the side and this is typical of Somalis’ and Zimbabweans wouldn’t even dream of combining the two!

2. Why did you choose ‘la Serenissima’?

I often say ‘La Serenissima’ chose me! I was attracted to the diversity of the Philosophy, International Studies and Economics (PISE) course, I was certain that I wanted to move to Europe, I was keen to learn more about the Italian culture and language, because it was very foreign to me, as there isn’t a large Italian community in Zimbabwe and lastly, who studies in Venice?! I take the quote: ‘Don’t follow the footsteps, create the path’ quite literally.

3. Yourself in 1 word


4. Your Blog in 1 word – and why

Artistic. I started a blog after graduating from high school because I had a 9-month long ‘gap year’ before starting university and I wanted to continue my creative writing even in a non-academic setting. Initially, I had used my blog (like most teenage girls) as an outlet - I wrote about anything and everything – from ‘What I learnt about nurturing a plant’ to ‘French slang words!’ After a year of blogging, I decided that I liked blogging enough to make it my side-hustle and I wanted to take it to the next level and so I upgraded my blog and narrowed my niche down to: self-improvement, lifestyle and travel. My intention for my blog is to inspire and inform others, through sharing my experiences. I enjoy the creativity and authenticity behind the photo editing and article titles! I also enjoy collaborating with brands that fall under the same niche.

5. Italian fave duo

GELATO (Fior di latte from Grom – hands down!) and my friends that have turned into family.

6. Zimbabwean fave duo

Wow, being limited to two things is torture! The people (family included!) and the wildlife (elephants in particular!)

7. Cultural exchange: what do you believe Zimbabwe has that Italy needs?

I think both countries are admirable in their own unique ways – both have beautiful landscapes! I enjoy the public transport system in Italy (the trains especially - not the strikes!) and I think Zimbabwe could use a reliable public transportation system. More light-heartedly, I have come to realise that what we know as pizza in Zimbabwe is actually just focaccia and Zimbabweans NEED Italian pizza and gelato in their lives! On the flip side, I admire Zimbabweans for their work-ethic and never-say-die mindset and I feel that this quality is less apparent in Italy. I also feel that Zimbabweans are generally more open to individuals of different cultures and care deeply about hospitality.

8. Dream Career

I see myself working as a diplomat in an organization that is primarily involved in improving the lives of others. I do believe that serving others in this field is my calling. If this is to materialise, I would then hope to eventually begin my own Africa-based NGO that would be devoted to women and children.

9. Major Goal

I’ve come to understand that I cannot pour from an empty cup, and in order for me to serve others to the best of my ability, I need to be at peace within, first, and so a major goal of mine is to find peace in everything that was, is and will be.

10. You’re grateful for...

I’m grateful for the trials and tribulations that have moulded me into the person that I am today.

11. Do you feel you are the future of Africa?

It is in being away from home that I have grown to be more patriotic. Like many, I see so much potential in Africa and I desire nothing more than to see this very potential fulfilled. I believe there are two methods in which the matter can be approached: the first is, what I call a passive contributor – this is when Africans in the diaspora have stable jobs and are contributing financially to the development of their home country. On the other hand, there are active contributors – these are the valiant individuals that return to their home countries and play an active role in developing the country from the ground up. Which of these two categories do I fall under? For the moment, I can only say that time will tell!

12. Will you think of joining VDS? ;)

You can expect my presence in the meetings in the near future!

Inspiring. Focused. Ambitious. These are the first three adjectives coming to my mind after reading the answers to my questions. I really felt amazed by the strength of a person who worked a lot on herself, who appreciates every single opportunity she bumps into, and honestly strives to reach the high and admirable goals she has set. As she perfectly knows what she wants, she shaped her own life and built her peculiar path. A firm identity; an even clearer awareness of her role in the World. And it feels so right witnessing such clever engagement and resolute commitment, because the glimmer of hope of a better future shines clearly bright.

What are we supposed to say? Of course, sincerely, we wish you all the best, and that your dreams come true!

A dialogue between Filippo Schena and Lamia Farah

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