Every week I love this series and get inspired a little bit more! I wanted to create a series where we could celebrate the lives of some amazing women whose lives are all different and all special. I feel honoured and privileged that they are sharing their stories and sprinkling a little bit of their awesome right here. May you be wom-inspired!
Meet Sarah Rosborg.
I’d seen Sarah around the interwebs and always been a bit in awe at her all-round-designer-awesomeness. Her work is wonderful and really a sight to behold. But then I realised there was a lot more to this lady than some inspiring designs. That’s when I heard about Rafiki Mwema and how tirelessly Sarah has worked to really make a difference, and that the work she is doing is literally life saving and life changing stuff. It was only after I invited Sarah to be part of this series that I then found out about her own life changing car accident which makes her story even more powerful and inspiring. I totally got goosebumps reading Sarah’s story and I am so grateful and honoured that she has agreed to share it. Some stories really need to be told and this is one of them.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 37 years old and quite often feel 77 and by that I mean tired, achy and a little bit of slow mover. I am married to a gorgeous man from Scandinavia who is everything and more I could have ever imagine in a husband. If you can ladies, find a man from Sweden. They are rated as the best husbands in the world and I can vouch for that. I am a Mama of a beautiful 3 year old girl who keeps me very busy and very happy.
I run a web design and graphic design company called Castle Design. I started this company in 2010 so I was able to work for myself.. from home and not take orders from anyone except my really annoying brain.
A little over a year ago a home that was dear to my heart in Kenya was threatened to close down as they were running out of funds. I helped an online auction to raise some funds to cover the running costs ($5KAUD per month) and many legends donated loads of goods. My goal was to raise $10K but I kicked that in its arse and we raised $17KAUD. I partied hard for about 10 minutes with all the excitement and then slept for a week from exhaustion.
After those funds had run out there was still the threat of the home being closed down without having some kind of funds coming in. So, because I had all the time in the world (I didn’t – but I have had to sacrifice many things) I spoke with some of my closest friends who offered their support to help me start Rafiki Mwema in Australia. (I have had experience with charities in Kenya after working for Mission in Action for 5 years) So, we did. I went through the motions of establishing a not for profit in Australia which involved gaining Rotary sponsorship and finding sponsors for all of the girls in the house to cover the running costs. All of this sounds so easy when I type it but it has taken 1 year of so much hard work to do this. But I couldn’t be happier and would do it a million times over.
Tell us 3 things you are and 3 things you’re not.
I am: a loving mama, reliable and a kind human
I am not: a mole, ever late, a good singer (ask my husband)
Complete this sentence, ____________________ changed my life. How and why?
Waaay back in June 2005 I had a terrible car accident in the States.
The car accident occurred the week after I left Africa following my first visit to Kenya. I was visiting some friends in Los Angeles before I was due to start my job on a cruise line. The car accident happened kinda in between Vegas and LA in the hot, hot dessert.
I was thrown from a car that was going too fast around a corner (120km) and we flipped and rolled a shit load of times and I was thrown out the back window on about the 5th flip. The car then landed right beside me. So many reasons I should not have survived that accident.
I broke my femur, hip, pelvis, foot and S.I.J. (you’ll know what this is if you have ever had pain there,) torn ligaments and road rash over most of my legs and feet.
I was not back in Africa. I knew I would have not survived this there… I was kinda convinced that I was not going to survive here either.. but there was a little more hope…
There were people from the cars that saw the accident kneeling beside me praying. THAT WAS COMFORTING. NOT. But I appreciated it.
I was airlifted to the closest hospital (Palm Springs Private ‘Most expensive hospital in the entire freaking universe’ Hospital) where I would spend the next 2 weeks in the most excruciating pain and horror I have ever known. I had my friend (who I was in the accident with) and his family close by but I had no one from Australia there. So, what did one of my Best Friends do? She jumped on a plane the day after she heard I was in an accident and came straight to the hospital to be with me. I remember, she walked in the room on a day they were trying to get me out of bed and I was vomiting from the pain and she walked in and I was SO CONFUSED and happy and sad and sick and then I think I vom’d & passed out? I am sure Jayde remembers more than me. But she proceeded to just be with me and do things for me that others couldn’t. Wash my hair, shave my legs, hold my hand when I had the 70 staples taken out of my leg, order an enema for me coz I hadn’t pooped for 2 weeks (thanks guys. was a great experience) sit in the bathroom with me and hold my leg up when I went to the toilet.. and just generally be my support and just what I needed. I am eternally grateful for her doing that for me. All I wanted to to do was to be home with my family and friends.
I remember telling myself when I was sitting on the dessert floor that if I was to survive this that I would do everything I could to help people. any people. anywhere. I was quietly making deals with a higher power to help me NOT DIE. I would do anything. I was terrified.
My passion is Kenya and not for any other reason than that was the place I was the week before my accident. When I was in hospital feeling very sorry for myself and for the years following, I would think of the amazing people I met in Kenya and the children who had had horrible lives. I was always thankful that I had been given a better life and I couldn’t feel sorry for myself.. I had to put my energy into helping them. This helped me heal immensely. It sometimes feels a little selfish. I receive more from helping them.
Fast forward 10 years and here we are. Suffering chronic pain, loving the fact that I am still alive and I am a mother even though the doctors told me I could not carry a child and am more dedicated to helping others who cant help themselves than ever.
What has been life’s greatest lesson?
That it is short and can be taken from you at any time. Someone is always carrying a bigger load than you.
What is your biggest achievement?
My daughter. That’s for sure. I have an amazing husband who supports my obsessive fundraising disorder and my late nights and never ending days of working. He supports my chronic pain and everything that comes along with that.
What has been your toughest obstacle and how have you overcome it?
My toughest obstacle is a continuing battle. I struggle with it everyday in some way. The fact that I carry so much sadness around with me for everyone. I want to help everyone who I see that might need it. I think I have been like this my entire life (my Mama will tell you this is true) but it has been magnified since my accident. I can’t watch the news, or hear sad stories etc unless there is a way I can help. I have to focus on what I CAN do and then I make sure I do that really well. Again, I feel it helps me more than it helps them.
Viktor Frankl says “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.” Everyone needs a purpose, what’s yours?
I don’t know really? Perhaps it is to show people that one person can make a difference.
What are your words to live by?
Treat others as you wish to be treated and I believe that charity should be a part of everyone’s lives. Don’t do NOTHING because you think the problem is too huge. Something is better than nothing. “Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned!’
If you could have any mentor, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?
My Mama. I have not always been kind to her (think: teenager from hell x 9) and she was an amazing mother. A single mother. she worked hard, she studied hard and did everything she could for me and my brother. She has given me my kindness that’s for sure. She is constantly thinking of others and doing things for so many people and she has changed the lives of many.
If you could play hookie for a day what would be on your list to do?
I love my daily life. But my dream day? To sit and work pain free and then to spend time with my husband and daughter doing things without the worry of pain and tiredness.
You give so much to others, what do you do to take care of yourself?
I take drugs. Sadly, this is my reality. I have been on an off heavy medications for the last 10 years. I love them for helping me get through each day and then I hate them for the things they do to my body and the side effects. Don’t worry, anti-pharmaceuticalist’s (ha! is that a word?) I have also done every natural thing you can think of. No, really. I have.
I have a treatment every week to help my pain… massage, osteopath. I have just started pilates once again.
The best self care? After I get my daughter to bed I sit down with a glass of red wine and I watch The Bold & the Beautiful and dumb down just a little bit. It’s the only time my brain stops and I actually lose brain cells.
Thank you for sharing, Sarah x
Sarah doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk. Right now she’s in Kenya with her girls. You can follow her amazing journey, cheer her on and find out about all the different ways you can support her awesome work at Rafiki Mwema
and on twitter