Updated: Jun 28
She was granted refugee status in 2019. After having a tedious time of it, she was accepted in 2020 by the University of Malta, where she is studying to become a nurse, her dream job.
Who is Agnes Mudembo?
First of all, thank you for coming to my house. My name is Agnes Mudembo, I come from Zimbabwe, in the south of Africa. I was granted refugee status by Malta in October 2019. I’m married and I have three kids, two girls and one boy who are still in Africa. I’m waiting for my application for family reunification to be approved so they can join me. Only my husband is here with me.
What do you do for a living?
I am studying nursing at the University of Malta on a full time basis. I am In my first year, and I am enjoying it so much. Nursing has been my dream job ever since I was young. It's about saving lives, being there for those who need you most. Right now, I have started my placement. So being in the world and giving my best is what I love most. I work with my colleagues as a team. Everywhere I go I meet people who appreciate me for who I am, they do not label me as a refugee. That inspires me a lot. On top of that, I also work as an outreach officer with an NGO. Usually my day starts at 5am. I go to school first, then onto work, or vice versa, and most of the time I arrive home late.
How do you feel about your life in Birżebbuġa?
It is a pity that I can't say a lot about this locality because of my tight schedule. But also because I miss my kids so much. Actually only half my body is here, so I do not feel like having fun without them. But there are nice beaches here. I could take them tp Pretty Bay if they were here with me. I would love to take them along the sea. I could take them to the port because we don’t have a port in Zimbabwe. I am sure they would love it so much. I would even take them to learn how to swim because they don't know how, even I don’t know how to swim but my husband would be a nice trainer for us. There are so many beautiful parks around here, I could take them to play. We would have fun here together. I love Birżebbuġa and I would not want to live elsewhere in Malta.
What has Malta brought to you in terms of opportunities?
Work and Studies. Compared to Zimbabwe where it is difficult to find an occupation, here I can easily get a job if I want to work. Many people find it hard, but it's all about personal efforts and hard work. I have integrated into the Maltese culture and I speak to anyone. Every time I meet someone, I speak about work, and that’s why I could easily get something to do, especially before I started my studies. It's all about fighting for yourself, knowing what you want and where you come from, knowing the life you want to live. I want to change my life and give the best to my kids. It's all about speaking to people and knowing your worth. I love Malta because of all these opportunities and my relationship with the Maltese is really good. I'm not here to complain about them. I try to avoid those people who perhaps don't appreciate me, so I don't argue or fight. That is what my faith and conscience directs me to do. I have a lot of Maltese friends and thanks to them I’m studying at the University. If you want good things, do good things to others and the rest will follow.
Watch the video on the interview
How much are you familiar with the Maltese culture?
I like many things about the Maltese culture. First of all, I like the food. Pastizzi is my favourite. People say they are not good because you’ll be fat but I don't care, I like pastizzi ( she has a good laugh as she speaks). I also like the soup, Kusksu, and the bread called Ftira. There is another dish of pasta that I love, Tarja. The rice as well; I don't know how to pronounce it but I know how to cook it: it is mixed with beans and eggs, then put in the oven. As for the language, I did the stage I of the Integration program “I belong” organised by the Government. I learnt the Maltese and I know some words. I can say “Grazzi”. From my friend, I learnt the word “Bomba” to say that something is fantastic, that you performed well. Other words in my vocabulary are “stena '', “Imbarazz" that means something is a mess. I learnt it from my landlord who is always after her children when she wants them to clean their rooms.
Do you have a word of appreciation for people who supported you in your integration process?
I would like to sincerely thank my former landlord Keneth Caruana, his wife Lydia, and Kevin, my current landlord. Mostly I want to say thank you to the Board of the Faculty of Science of the University of Malta, where I am studying. Especially Dr Maria Cassar, I say “grazzi”!
On the occasion of World Refugee Day 2021, SuccessStories-RAS (Success Stories among Refugees and Asylum Seekers) aims to showcase four unique lives of refugees based in Malta.
During the month of June every week, a video is published on our social media accounts, as well as on the US Embassy Malta's Facebook page.
The propjet is done in partnership with the newspaper L'Orizzont _ It- Torca, publishing the printed and online version of the stories in Maltese.
All stories are featured here on our multilingual webzine.
This is the third article of the series. Read the Maltese version here
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