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Mendy Lerato Lusaba | ​Zimbabwe

What do you do in your home country and what do you hope to do upon your return? In particular, with the integration of your experiences here?

Back home, I’m a social entrepreneur. I run a housekeeping agency where I provide domestic workers for household work. My work has also led me to start a organization called Domestic Workers Association of Zimbabwe. It is a network of Zimbabwean housekeepers in Zimbabwe and surrounding countries. So far we are in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Our aim is to build and develop the domestic workers into professional workers who are formally recognized in the industry through capacity building. We also do advocacy work for the rights of the domestic workers. The domestic workers are often neglected and abused in the workplace. We are also trying to find human tracking through the organization.

I have made many good collaborations between the fellows themselves and also the connections we made here. The lessons also made me understand the background of housekeeping and domestic work as it is mainly linked to the issues of slavery and race. Although the housekeeping dynamics are different here than back in my country, the problems are just the same. I’ve been able to meet up with one lady from the National Domestic Quakers Forum for America. I also met up with an owner who runs a housekeeping agency so we were able to share notes.

What is your favorite thing about your home country? How about Philadelphia?

My favorite thing about Zimbabwe is that it’s my country. The resilience of the people. They have been through a lot economically and socially but the people never give up. It is the resilience of the people that I love.

I don't dispute that America is more developed than Africa. So Philadelphia for us is a model city. It is neat. The people are very kind. Diversity and culture.

Do you have any hobbies or an interesting fact you wish to share about yourself?

Outside work, I work with youths in my community and church. I write about domestic work, I have a blog. I have written a manual for domestic workers. I am also a part time speaker at functions, churches and business seminars.

If I were to come to your home country, what is the first thing I should eat?

Sadza. It is a corn mill dish. The Sadza is served with beef stew and a fried green leaf vegetable such as kale.