On Tuesday morning I said goodbye to an era. I am also forced to admit now that I also said goodbye to a mentor.
Astra Da Costa wasn’t only a mentor for me; if many of the young women who worked under her tutelage are honest, they would also admit that she left many a mark on their lives. Yes, some of the marks were negative, but there were positive ones too.
I’ve always said that AMPLE was a hell of a training ground for me. I think I learnt most of what I know in that formerly beautiful white building at the corner of Grey Street and Tragarete Road (I never understood the need to paint that majestic white building Vomit Pink!)
I sat in the church on Tuesday and allowed my mind to travel back in time. I went back to meetings and conversations that I had inadvertently deemed unnecessary, and as I replayed some of these instances, I realized that in her rather indirect but direct way, (trust me, that makes sense … this is after all the woman who coined ‘hurry slowly’) Astra had left the seeds of social responsibility and the need to be a part of something bigger than self with me.
I guess – having destroyed many a draft since I began writing this – all I really want to say is Thank You Astra for sharing some of your knowledge with us, for molding us into the strong, opinionated, independent, caring, careful yet reckless women that we are today. I, for sure, have learnt to laugh at myself, to appreciate every stately curve that I own … not to mention that I have now perfected the art of power dressing!
We’ve learnt to appreciate the love of family and good friends. We have also learnt to appreciate every second of time gifted to us and allow us to joke that this is because we NEVER had any time while we labored at AMP’s … but we appreciate it nonetheless.
Rest well ADC, because you’ve earned it, and please, whatever you do, DO NOT attempt to tell God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or St Peter how to do their jobs or how to make Heaven more efficient — It’s JUST NOT DONE! May I suggest some time in the choir loft??? You always did say that you missed singing.
Go with God, Auntie Astra!