July 22, 2021 - By AnumitaBagchi
Marco and Erica connect with Lisa Chiriseri to discuss her inspiring work
In this amazing interview, Marco and Erica connect with Lisa Chiriseri to discuss her inspiring work. They discuss African culture and hospitality, food, fashion, charity, and everything in between. Marco and Erica start the show very sharply dressed, with a little appreciation for their wardrobe choices and, of course, a song- I’m Every Woman, this time.
Lisa is a philanthropist based in Zimbabwe, where she tells Marco and Erica she was born and raised. Having grown up there and lived there her whole life, Lisa is very familiar with the culture of her home, but also the difficulties that many people face there. Marco and Erica learn a lot about Zimbabwean and African culture in this episode, particularly in terms of hospitality and openness. Lisa’s description of African ‘open house’ practices surprise our hosts. You can’t ask someone when they plan to leave your home, and must always offer them food and drinks when they come in, which is a common practice in many African and Asian cultures. Marco can’t believe that Lisa would be obliged to cook him a meal, even if he showed up to her house at two o’clock in the morning!
The famous proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” is of African origin, and Lisa explains that in Zimbabwe this means everyone takes responsibility for children, no matter who the parents are. When she was growing up, the issues of poverty in Zimbabwe meant that Lisa very frequently encountered people begging for money at her window, or homeless people sleeping under cardboard boxes. She also notes that there was often a child around her house who needed help, which her family would provide, which Marco and Erica find admirable. These things inspired Lisa to think about how she could help more people around her, leading her to start working in a soup kitchen. She now works with disadvantaged teenagers and young adults, whom she believes fall through the cracks when they outgrow the support systems that are in place for children. Marco and Erica ask more about this, and agree that working with people who are similar in age allows Lisa to get through to them on a more personal level.
Lisa was chosen for the Obama Foundation Fellowship, a programme for African changemakers, which is an incredible achievement for someone so young. She tells Marco and Erica that while she was unable to travel to the US for the Fellowship, due to losing her father, she is incredibly proud to have been a Fellow, and happy to be making changes on a local level. At the moment, Lisa is working hard to help rural Zimbabwean schools to maintain education online during the pandemic. Of course, the lockdown means that Lisa has not been able to travel as much as she wants to, just like Erica and Marco. At the best of times, Lisa explains that the logistics of travelling from Zimbabwe can be quite difficult and expensive, though she is also not convinced by Marco’s idea of smuggling Erica across a border in a suitcase! While she isn’t globe-trotting, Lisa has been focusing on what her own country has to offer, exploring wildlife and natural parks.
This interview is incredibly inspiring, with Lisa’s amazing charitable work showing how her drive to improve the lives of those around her is really paying off. Marco and Erica’s amusing and heart-warming engagement with Lisa will also give you the opportunity to learn about the daily operations of her charity work, her opinions on solo travel (which Marco insists is much safer with a bazooka, for some reason), and how our wonderful presenters are inspired by her commitment to her work- it is truly unmissable!