As a flight attendant, Kerri’s gotten used to the jetlag, keeping odd hours and occasionally feeling sick. So even though she was sick with the flu, and it was past 11 pm, Kerri was excited to talk to an old classmate from back home. After moving to New Zealand in 2006, maintaining friendships was difficult.
Eight Long Years
For Kerri, the fast-paced life of New Zealand still can’t compare to Zimbabwe. “New Zealand is good, I love it here. However, it will never beat home. Even after eight years of being here, I still get extremely homesick!” It was easier when she was in Wellington, home to a small but thriving Zimbabwean community. When Kerri relocated to tiny Nelson, she and her family were completely cut off from her fellow countrymen, and the homesickness kicked in harder.
Kerri is a flight attendant for Air New Zealand
Going Back Home
When she got the chance to come back to Zimbabwe two years ago, Kerri was both excited…and nervous. She had been gone for so long – what if the Zimbabwe she knew had changed? “I think the vibe had changed. It didn’t seem as bright and alive as I remembered before I left.” Although for Kerri, her home country had lost some of its spark, its people hadn’t lost any of their heart. “Everyone is so chilled out and welcoming”, she says, and whilst going back to New Zealand was “a struggle”, Kerri was glad she got the chance to be back home to see her family and friends. And most importantly, eat sadza. Looking for sadza in New Zealand is nothing short of a treasure hunt. “It’s very hard to find, there aren’t many African shops here, and it’s very expensive!”
Living Her Dream
Being a flight attendant means that Kerri’s passport is put to good use
Kerri’s job ensures that she always has a busy schedule. Becoming part of Air New Zealand’s team wasn’t an easy feat: in Kerri’s group alone, only eight candidates were chosen out of a pool of 300 applicants. Then came an intense round of training, followed by exam after exam after exam. “It’s way tougher than it looks to be, honestly.” Kerri’s been with Air New Zealand for a year now, and despite recent tragedies in the airline industry, she’s still very much in love with what she does. “I love being a flight attendant, I can happily say that I love the industry I work in.” Kerri’s end-goal is to have her own travel agency, both in New Zealand and Zimbabwe. “Gotta dream big!” is her motto, one that many other bright young Zimbabweans share.
Kerri on the job
For a 20-something year old girl who’s lived outside the country for close to a decade, it would’ve been easy for Kerri to drop her heritage in favour of something less African. However, Kerri’s fiercely proud of where she comes from. “I’m Zimbabwean, that’s where I was born and grew up, and no one can ever take that away from me. I’m proud of where I’ve come from and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for being born in Zimbabwe and experiencing life overseas in New Zealand.” Smart, driven and determined, Kerri has no doubt what the future holds. “My roots and heritage is something that I can take with me wherever I am in the world. I know where I come from, but most of all I know where I’m going because of that.”