Marking Black History Month with Ruth Scrivener

Hello, my name is Ruth Scrivener, I am a People Advisor in the People Directorate. I was born and brought up in Kenya. I am a from a town called Nyahururu, to the west of Kenya, and lies in between the Great Rift Valley and the Aberdare Ranges (which both offer an array of wildlife and stunning landscapes). It’s well known for Thomson Falls – a magnificent cascade that plunges 75 metres into a picturesque ravine. The name Nyahururu derives from a Masaai word which means waterfall or windy.

A little fact about me is that I left Kenya before my 20th birthday. I wanted to fulfil a childhood ambition of seeing the world and get to experience different cultures and communities before I was 30 years old. I have always been curious and I wanted to see the world, experience this first hand instead of through other people or the news on television.

I was very determined to see as much of the world as I could, but being from Kenya it is a more expensive venture than other people might experience. The geopolitics associated with being Kenyan, I had to apply for visas for almost every country I wanted to see. On contemplating the costs, an idea dawned of joining the airlines where you get to travel and see the world while working. So, I joined an airline in the United Arab Emirates, and after a few years I was able to start relocating to other countries fulfilling this dream. I have lived in Dubai, Australia, The Caribbean, and now the UK.

My eventual journey to the UK began firstly to London and thereafter I relocated here to Plymouth a few years ago. I have had the pleasure to meet and work with incredible colleagues from the People Directorate, the Executive Team and many different Departments at the Trust who have been part of my journey.

Despite previously travelling from one continent to another, the UK was quite challenging at the beginning as I relocated here as a new mother with no immediate family support. Plymouth did not have a large diverse community then in comparison to other towns in the UK. I do recall there was only one shop where we could get some of our food products (a home away from home). If the shop was shut, we would either travel to Bristol or London for some of the comforting foods we were used to. I know others have struggled with this issue too, but here there were no hairdressers skilled to work with my style of hair, which is so important. It did however help me gain a skill to do my own hair (thanks to YouTube!). As some of our colleagues and friends know, we do change our hairstyles a lot but that was not a deterrent as Devon is a lovely place and have now called it home for the past few years.  

Our trust is very multicultural, and whilst being at the trust I have met colleagues from East Africa, Zimbabwe and also Nigeria. I am yet to meet any fellow Kenyan’s as yet, but do feel free to say hello to me!

Celebrating Black History Month in this Trust resonates with me and hopefully with you all. I think it is very important that we are understanding of everyone’s journey, the reasons why they work here at the Trust and how they came to become part of our overall #1BigTeam. It is important as it is about celebrating diverse cultures and also showing gratitude to our allies who have also welcomed us as we are to their communities.

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