Mary, tell us about your background: I was born in Zimbabwe, a country in southeast Africa. Boas and I came to South Bend six years ago. We’ve been married for thirty-eight years and have five children. Our oldest son used to live in South Bend, but now he lives in Dallas, Texas. Our other four children still live in Africa. We also have six grandchildren. Three live in Dallas, the other three are in Africa.
Are you also from Zimbabwe, Boas? Yes, I moved here in 2017 when my family was being persecuted in Zimbabwe. Mary and I left with nothing and moved to South Bend, where my son was in attending college—at Notre Dame.
Mary, how did you and Boas meet? Boas was my father’s boss. They worked together as missionaries in Zimbabwe. He came to my house to see my father, and I got to know him that way.
Were you a caregiver in Zimbabwe, Mary? I was a businesswoman in Zimbabwe. Back home, I was looking after my grandma. It’s always been a dream of mine to help people, especially the elderly who are sick or need help. When I first moved here, I was a full-time live-in caregiver for a ninety-four-year-old gentleman. After he passed away, I started working for Firefly. When I started working at Firefly, I was so happy because I was living out my dream to care for older people.
When did you start working at Firefly, Boas? I was looking for a housekeeping-type position. Mary started working for Firefly first, then I applied too. It’s been about a year now. I work part time, working afternoons. It varies, but I usually have five or six clients a week. Right now, three of my clients are named James!
What do you enjoy the most about caregiving, Boas? I just like my job. It’s rewarding. I can’t really separate only one thing out I enjoy—it’s all of it together that makes my job rewarding.
How about you Mary, is there anything you enjoy the most about caregiving? Just caring for older clients. All my clients have different needs. Some like to talk; others need more help. You must know your clients and what they need. It comes easy when you like your job—it really shows. When you like what you do, it makes a difference for your client.
Can you share a story about one of your clients, Mary? One of my clients doesn’t talk, and his wife was having difficulty understanding him and what he wanted. She kept trying to feed him, but he wouldn’t open his mouth to eat for her. When I spend time with him, I tell him we’re going to sing, and we’re going to talk. I get him to smile and laugh. He even giggles sometimes. Then, I can get him to eat.
What do you like to do for fun outside of work, Boas? Ah, my time is very limited. But when I have free time, I like to fix my cars so they stay on the road. We have three cars that I bought at an auction. A Chevy, a Nissan, and Mary has a Honda. When I’m not doing those things, I’m usually at church.
What do you look forward to doing in your spare time, Mary? I like to travel to Dallas to see my son, his wife, and our grandchildren. I look forward to when they will come here for a visit.