BOOKS GOT ME HERE
BY TSHEPO HAPPY MAPHANYANE
A journey of a lifetime starts with the turning of a page.
And what a journey it has been for Victoria Salam!
Twelve years ago, propelled by stories she had immersed herself in, she decided to go on an adventure to the United Kingdom.
“My fascination was born from my obsession with books. I read everything from Shakespeare, Marian Keyes and Jane Eyre. These and many others certainly played a huge part in creating images of a place I knew at some point I would love to visit and perhaps have the opportunity to explore,” said Salam who was captivated by the allure of all things British from a very young age.
“I couldn’t get enough of the accents and the all too familiar British humor,” she sys with a chuckle.
Realizing that her dream to migrate to the UK was within reach, Salam and a bunch of her friends utilized the working visa to make their trip to England.
“I was excited to finally get first hand experience of the culture I had come to know so well only through reading books and watching television,” she said
Although at the time, everyone around her spoke highly of going to the United States of America, Salam was not swayed from her interest to find her feet in the UK.
Settling in Bristol, she went about making friendships that ultimately led to her meeting her husband with whom she now has two sons.
An alumni of John Mackenzie school in Francistown who went on to be a law graduate, Salam talked fondly about her school days and about how teachers were caring and encouraging, causing her to excel in academics.
Her childhood memories, she says have propelled her to be more involved in her Bristol community.
“We all have a role to play in building young minds. There is a teacher in all of us and we ought to decide if we will be teachers that build or break the spirit and destroy lives,” she said.
Juggling motherhood, a commercial cleaning company she manages and her part time work in a law firm, Salam’s plate is full, yet she makes time for what she says is most important to her, which is helping others achieve their dreams.
Through community work and church, she has added value to platforms geared at elevating others to realize their potential.
Through seminars and workshops outside of her work she and others continue to build networks that aim to harness their gifts and knowledge.
“I know firsthand the difficulty in making impact especially in a place where everyone seems to be only concerned about their own livelihood. Unlike in Botswana, it takes longer to build networks here. People may mean well, but they are busy. However once made, these connections are for a lifetime,” she said
Although her family had initially worried a bit about her moving to the UK, they long got used to it.
“I have never stayed at home for long periods of times because I did both my O levels and A Levels in Zimbabwe before spending five years at university. So, one could say, I have been independent and away from home for a very long while,” Salam explained.
She however keeps in touch and follows what is going on in Botswana closely.
In preparation for the brand-new year, Salam excited about being back in the kitchen.
“We recently watched a documentary on food; the game changer and it correlated with conversations we have been having about being a lot healthier. So I am enjoying the meal preps even though it can at times mean spending way too much time in stores looking for specific ingredients. Cutting out meat from our diet has so far not been too bad,” she laughs and goes on to add that being intentional with everything is he theme for 2020.
“ I am energized by the possibilities that lie ahead,” she said wrapping up the interview.