When I think of Onesta, the word that springs to mind is generosity.
People gravitate towards her warmth from the moment they meet her, but behind that kindness, there is also a knowing. She has experienced the highs and lows of life, and as a result, Onesta displays such a depth of compassion towards everyone who comes into contact with her.
Originally from Guyana, Onesta first came to Austria to do an MA in Peace Studies, and then lived in Kosovo, Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Kenya again, before returning to Austria in 2020. She worked for many years in various humanitarian positions, has two biological children, and accumulated an additional four children along the way. She strives to be the best mother and the best person she can be.
But what happens to those of us who give and give, and forget to put ourselves first? For Onesta, the sign to slow down manifested as Lyme disease.
Aside from the physical symptoms that come with the illness, this was hard to accept as life also had to change. Onesta had always worked hard, been an active and involved parent, and felt that she had to be and do everything to be the perfect role model for her children.
I believe that perhaps she’s an even better role model now than previously. Demonstrating to us all the importance of rest, of letting go of perfectionism, of learning to receive care instead of just giving it. Tough lessons to learn, but essential ones nonetheless.
Problems with her health however have not prevented Onesta from pursuing her passion; to coach and support parents of neurodivergent children. After her own experience with her daughter, Onesta knows that the world needs to be more understanding of neurodivergence and hopefully, a little more gentle too. She leads by example.
Kind, generous, strong, warm, discerning, and the epitome of the mother-figure. Onesta is all of these things, and so much more.
It has been an honour to get to know her, to be in her beautiful energy, and to depict it in this way.