A woman who moved to the United States from Zimbabwe to escape violence in her homeland has found a niche in the American family bottle store industry, where she’s made her mark on the industry and helped to launch a new line of products.
In her first book, Black Family Shopping: From the Home of the Black Woman to the Homeowner of the Year, she reveals the hardships she faced in the US family bottle shops of her youth, including being refused service and discrimination from customers.
The book was launched in February and is now available in paperback.
“I was a young black woman who could never afford to buy a bottle,” said the book’s narrator, Mariah Ngogo.
“Black women, especially black women of colour, were treated very poorly.
We were not considered housewives.
Mariah says she was offered a bottle to try on for herself but, after a few days, she said she could not afford it. “
We were the poorest of the poor.”
Mariah says she was offered a bottle to try on for herself but, after a few days, she said she could not afford it.
“It was so expensive,” she said.
‘Black and white’ experience’ ‘I was very poor and I didn’t know anything about how to do anything in this country, she says in Mariah’s memoir. “
So I took it and I used it as a toilet paper.”
‘Black and white’ experience’ ‘I was very poor and I didn’t know anything about how to do anything in this country, she says in Mariah’s memoir.
She had to rely on her parents and older siblings, her grandmother and aunt, to get by.
Mariah was born in Zululand, a small African country in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in 1950.
Her family had fled to Zimbabwe during the country’s civil war in 1980.
Mariam was the oldest of three children.
Her father was a farmer, her mother a schoolteacher.
“There were lots of black people in the country, but we had no opportunity,” Mariah said.
Maria’s family’s journey to America The Ngogos moved to a town called Lomita in Texas, but she says there were few opportunities for education.
She went to public school but was often teased.
She said her classmates had names like “Black Mother”, “Black Child” and “Negro”.
Mariah started working as a maid in a nursing home, but her job required her to help clean rooms.
Marih was eventually hired to work as a receptionist in a house in San Marcos, Texas, where Mariah lived. “
If I was working hard, I would make $1,000 a month, but they would treat me very badly,” she told Al Jazeera.
Marih was eventually hired to work as a receptionist in a house in San Marcos, Texas, where Mariah lived.
“My family didn’t want me to leave the house, because I had a job.
But I couldn’t get a job anywhere else because of the racism,” she explained.
Mari Ngorobu, Mariam’s aunt, said she was “very scared” when Mariah came to the US, because of her heritage and she feared her nephew was being targeted by the US government.
“She was very scared, she was very worried,” Mari said.
Ngorubu said Mariah had been discriminated against in her home country, where many of the men who worked in her hometown had been killed.
“Our people were treated badly. “
Mariah’s family was very much oppressed,” she added.
“Our people were treated badly.
And they were afraid for their lives.”
Mariam, who has worked as a housekeeper for 30 years, said many of her relatives were not allowed to visit the Ngorubi in San Antonio.
Mariyani Ngoru, a friend of Mariah, said her niece had faced discrimination in the family bottle industry.
“Her parents were working and they were buying her things.
They were not able to see her face,” she recalled.
“But I told her, ‘You can see your mother.
She is a beautiful woman, she is a mother.
And you are my mother’.”‘
They are like a shadow’ Mariah told AlJazeera that when she was a child, she often felt like a “shadow” when she visited her grandmother.
She recalled that Mariah once ran into her grandmother in a street and, when she got up to leave, she took a deep breath and hugged her.
Maribu said the family she was living with at the time had no idea Mariah even existed.
“When we lived there, Maribus was living in a home where we didn’t even know her name,” Maribum said.
The Ngorubs, Mari added, had a very good relationship with the Ngomabu, her grandparents, and their mother.
Marigu, the niece, said Mariam did not feel welcome.
“The Ngomabi do not respect us.
They are like shadow,” she described.