Safi Charlene Kisimolo
Congo - Calgary
Art by Emily Honderich
Safi Charlene Kisimolo story
Safi Charlene Kisimolo is originally from Congo. She has been in Canada since 2012. She is an early childhood educator and is passionate about working with children. She loves being around them and that is why she chose this career.
Safi and COVID 19
My name is Safi Charlene Kisimolo. I am a single mother living with four children alone. I am sure many mothers, single or not, can attest that raising children is a very difficult task. Being single while raising children comes with added challenges, each family having unique and different problems. In Africa, children become an affair of the extended family helping with the day to day raising of the child including feeding and washing them.
In Canada, the responsibility falls on the direct or biological parents. Limited help comes in the form of government services and private and non-profit organizations. Many new immigrant single parents are responsible for the daily routine such as waking up early to prepare four children to go to school. Their clothes, books, food and dropping them at the bus. Once I am done, I go back to finish the housework before I must get ready for my bus and train heading to college for my schoolwork.
If I must stay late at school I have to arrange for someone to pick up my children from the bus stop and stay with them until I arrive home.
COVID-19 has disturbed the established social norms and added new problems for single parents like me. All of our classes moved online. I became the teacher to all my children making sure that they understood their classes and stayed on top of their homework. I had to be the one watching them, resolving conflicts while I finished my own homework.
While in my class, I have to use one ear to listen to my professor and the other ear to listen to my children. I became the peacemaker! This is very challenging as a parent and student. It is hard and I pray the virus disappears soon so we can go back to our normal routine. As a single mom, this is not something I could get completely used to. The virus has made me realize the importance of school and how much the teachers do to alleviate the burden of taking care of our children. Sometimes, it makes me think of the Africans' way because the system helps.
To sum up, I will say that this pandemic is bad because it's deadly, but on the other hand, it gives people time to reflect on their personal lives as well. It has also helped to build strong relationships in families who suddenly had time together. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
"While in my class, I have to use one ear to listen to my professor and the other ear to listen to my children. I became the peacemaker! This is very challenging as a parent and student. It is hard and I pray the virus disappears soon so we can go back to our normal routine. As a single mom, this is not something I could get completely used to."