My guest this week is Rachel Gefferie who works at the University of Kent as Diversity Mark Officer and is also doing an Anthropology PhD. Rachel, who is originally from Suriname and later moved to the Netherlands, talks about why calendar and anniversary dates and photographs are so important. She can relive the original feelings she had when she looks back at pictures.
Rachel tells us why she selects happy moments and why the camera is like an extended eye. We also discuss how other people may interact (differently) with them, even those in the same picture, and Rachel talks about the role that pictures play in her cultural background. They represent the most important thing in one’s life and all of one’s accomplishments.
She talks about the time she was asked what the object was from childhood that means the most to her, and it was when she won her first book for writing a story. And we find out about Rachel’s attachment to objects, e.g. jewellery. She has a necklace that reminds her of her time in Colombia where she was diagnosed with a heart defect and she was told that she didn’t have long to live. She was told to do something that she wanted to do as she didn’t have much time left. She ended up in Saint Martin where she had a second opinion and discovered that she wasn’t terminally ill.
The necklace symbolizes her having new life and having a second chance and needing to make it work. She now faces sickness in a completely new way, and Rachel talks about how she has become more cautious if she is separated from her husband.
Music played a big role in her upbringing, and we learn that lockdown had a huge impact on the connections which live music brings. We find out whether there were any inspiring artists. Rachel discusses dance hall and music of Jamaican origin, and she discusses a photo that she brought with her to the recording of herself with the son of Bob Marley, Ky-Mani Marley.
Rachel talks about her educational journey. She worked as a social worker in Saint Martin and taught in Suriname. She then went on to do a Masters in Social Anthropology and now her PhD. Surprisingly, Rachel explains how she ended up in Canterbury due to Google.
At the end of the interview, Rachel talks about how she believes that, in the context of her Christian faith, everything happens for a reason. The health diagnosis was an attack on her faith but afterwards her faith returned. And, Rachel explains why she lives through the past, in the present, looking at the future.
Please note: Opinions expressed are solely those of Chris Deacy and Rachel Gefferie and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of Kent.