Getting talking to Atasiem really wasn’t difficult, in-fact it was hard not to as she is such an approachable person and naturally interested in all the comings and goings at the school. Straight away you are struck by her positive attitude despite her story being a little more complicated.
We meet her here in the grounds of Cardoso Catholic Community Primary School busy making sweet buns to sell to the school, clinic and wider community. Atasiem’s day usually starts at 5am when she rises, prays and completes her house work. As well as baking at the school, Atasiem works shifts at the clinic which means her days vary in length. Today she is officially off duty from the clinic, so free to be at the school all morning, which is roughly a 20 minute walk from her house.
The clinic is a 10 minute bus ride from her home, where she works as a general nurse. It’s easy to see why Atasiem makes a good nurse and she tells us, for her, the most important part of nursing is how you ‘make friendly with patients’, your bedside manner.
Atasiem is a single mum, although her 17yr old son does not live with her which clearly upsets her. As a teenage parent, her life must have been very complicated and the relationship with her son’s father seems to have had a lasting impact on all future relationships for Atasiem. For now she lives alone, the way she wants it stay.
Although she is known as a joker and someone who brightens the mood, ‘anywhere I am, I make people happy’, she has little free time to play with. She tells us she needs to be active and working, partly to help herself and partly to help others. As a charismatic Christian it is unsurprising that when we ask what the most important things are in Atesiam’s life she replies, ‘to serve God.’
Atasiem has trained in many different trades, including computers and cookery and has worked in 5* hotels before coming to work as she does now. Her life has been very varied but what never changes is the smile on her face and the welcome she gives out so freely to us, the strangers.