One of our Blog writing challenges this past week was to write about an interesting person we had recently met. I hope you enjoy this brief story.
Sophie J. is one of those people who is unforgettable; not because she is beautiful which she is, not because she looks 40 when she is 53, not because she is black, none of those reasons on their own make Sophie J. memorable. Her tall willowy figure and her husky voice are not the reasons either, neither are the colours she wears. Her grandson and her daughter are also beautiful people but they are not the main reasons Sophie stays in my mind. Sophie doesn’t work a 9-5 job, she has travelled but isn’t well-travelled. She is a fighter, she goes after what she wants in life. She is an achiever against all odds. Sophie J. is an “Aids Survivor”andthat is why she is memorable, or unforgettable.
Sophie J. arrived in New Zealand in 1988 from somewhere in Africa. Sophie J. has made New Zealand her home, her daughter and grandchildren are here. Sophie has written one book already on her life story and has another in the pipeline. Sophie J. writes from the heart, I admire that.
Moving forward: Sophie ended up in New Zealand with her faith, her husband and two beautiful children, a son and a daughter. Her first book is “Sophies World” self published in 2012, where she talks about being pregnant with twins and being diagnosed HIV; back then they gave her 5 years to live. She did live but it was frightening and full of drama, try and read her book for the full story.
Move to 2015: Sophie J. called me up, “Lynn, I’m writing another book, please will you take my photo?” I say yes and agree to meet on the top of a wind-blown hill, in fact an inactive volcano. Sophie is bubbly and effervescent like a young volcano herself, always erupting with her enthusiasm. I photographed Sophie with the wind blowing her tousled hair, she smiled but behind the eyes I can see the pain she has endured. She laughs a lot these days, she smiles proudly when talking of her children, her countenance lights up when her grandson is mentioned. Life is much better these days. Sophie has fought her demons; she is loved, the sun shines as she looks forward to sharing more of her life story. Hers is a life that would challenge most of us to breaking point, Sophie J is a survivor and one of my most memorable acquaintances, I think I am fortunate to have met this amazing woman.