She came out of a personal life experience to bring hope to others in similar predicaments. Marigold Katsande is a nutritional therapist who aims at bringing out the best health in others. She attributes her passion to her child’s troubled babyhood. She speaks more to CHIKONDI KASAMBARA.
Give me your brief background
I was born Marigold Ndicho Katsande in Zimbabwe in 1961 in a family of 10 and I am the fourth born. I had a very healthy childhood because my father grew most of the organic foods we ate since he was also in the Ministry of Health. I started struggling with my health when I went to Goromonzi Boarding School and I skipped classes a lot due to poor health, but felt much better when I went home although it did not automatically occur to me that the poor diet at school contributed to the poor health. In 1979, I won a scholarship to study at Plymouth in the UK where I concentrated on sciences so, I did Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics with the intention of studying medicine or biochemistry. In my first year of study when I was just 19, I suffered bereavement of my first boyfriend back home who died in a car accident which was a difficult situation for me so much so that I became home sick. My academic deteriorated and I did not pass as expected. I, however, passed my A levels and I went into mental health nursing because the psychological aspect of it fascinated me. I also studied for a degree in life sciences, but dropped out in second year because of financial constraints since my big family in Zimbabwe depended on me for financial support. I needed to make more money which meant more work for me. After a while, computers started coming in and I decided to do computer studies with an aim of becoming a programmer, but it became difficult to get a job so, I found that nursing was more job secure so I stuck to it.
How did you end up being a nutritional therapist?
I met and married my Ghanaian lover in 1988 and had our first child in 1989. When he was three weeks old, he developed a rash that could not go away. We were told it was milk rash, heat rash and all sorts of things, but it turned out to be a severe case of Eczema. He was always crying and scratching while the blood oozed from over scratching. We sought medical solutions as far as Ghana and Zimbabwe where we got herbs which equally provided temporal relief. When we ran out of herbs, the Eczema continued. This was happening when I was also suffering from severe constipation. I went to see a colonic irrigation specialist Jean Clarke who cleansed my colony with 15 gallons of warm filtered water. It was there that I learnt that my suffering was as a result of my diet and that my unhealthy eating impacted on the health of my child. I was the referred to a nutritional therapist who not only encouraged me to study nutritional therapy, but also gave me food supplement for my son who was two years old. He was then only dependent on soya milk. For the first time since he was born, my son could now sleep for two hours and later throughout the night. This inspired me to do nutritional therapy so that I could help other people. We also patronised the National Eczema Society and seeing one adult who still had Eczema gave me the determination to do something about it apart from finding the right nutrition and if possible, a cure for my son.
What are some of your notable achievements?
I have helped a lot of people relieve and prevent themselves from different health situations through healthy eating. This, I am sure has saved people lot of money because prevention of many diseases through simple natural diet is cost effective. You see, our bodies never work against us rather; whatever symptom we come across is our body trying to communicate something to us. I believe and practice what I tell others and so I did preconception work and improved in diet which made my two follow up pregnancies smooth and healthy compared to the first one. I remember when I first fell pregnant; I was very weak and was advised to stop working at five months. But with other pregnancies, I was full of energy. I have also helped a lot of children in behavioural change through diet because most people do not know that how the day starts impacts on performance and output for the entire day. Working as a volunteer mentor in schools where some children were reported to be causing problems and others performing badly, it has been evidenced that after working on their morning meals even their behaviour and records have changed. I love working with women because as the saying goes, there is no nation that can be educated above the level of its women. You may also wish to know that I am a qualified life coach who works on assisting people bringing gaps between what they do and their long term goals.
Why are you visiting Malawi?
I am currently working on a book which is exploring on how we get so many diseases in our reproductive health. I am researching on ancestral and forefathers diet which kept them healthier and lived longer. That is what I am doing in Malawi and will visit other Southern African countries.
How beneficial is the research to Malawians?
I want more women to be in touch with their own bodies other than the current trend of relying on western medication. There are a lot of medications including contraceptives that are disrupting our hormones, some of which are cancer causing. Menopause and pregnancy which are natural stages in life are becoming syndromes, but due to some of the medications we take, are being affected by our unhealthy foods. I want to bring awareness on working for the betterment of women’s health world over, but naturally.
Tell me about your family
I have three children Wasim Simbarashe, 26, who holds a degree in IT, Jamal Kudakwashe, 22, a chef and Nadia Munashe, 18, who is doing journalism and English studies and a grandchild from the second born. I divorced with the father of my children whom I was married to for 13 years when my last born was four years old and I haven’t remarried. The marriage was falling apart and was damaging my self esteem, so, I let him go even though I have never kept the children away from him. He has been there for them and that I think has been good for the children. I have survived years of being a single mother because I went through counseling right before I went ahead with the divorce so, I gained a lot of confidence which coupled with nutritional therapy, have done me a lot of good.
What do you do during your free time?
I like strengthening my mental energy as much as my physical energy. I love knitting, cooking and reading healthy books, especially on natural healing. I like connecting with nature, so, I like walking. I enjoy gardening and have an organic garden both in the UK and Zimbabwe. I swim when I can and skip a rope every morning.
What is your vision?
I want to open a healing place in Zimbabwe. I want it to be a healing retreating place for couples to reconnect or to cater for those looking for a natural set-up. I am also establishing “Golden WHealth” which will empower people to be wealthy while being healthy hence the emphasis on the “w” and “h”. Most of all I feel good when I make someone feel good so I will continue helping others attain good health. It gives me satisfaction to help others not always for financial gains but just for their good. I am also working on a book about telling the story of Eczema and other health tips on the same. n