Luzviminda Duvage Nee Cabrera

Luzviminda came from the Philippines, in 1973 to Sussex at age 21. She trained in psychiatric nursing and then became a RN Midwife in Worthing until 1987.

She sadly passed away in 1995 and her story is told with love by her daughter Thanya, with help from her father, Minda's husband Rupa.

What was your motivation for coming?

For education and career. Everyone wants to have a better life and support her family as well.

What was the process? Did you come as part of a particular initiative or drive?

She was recruited as a student nurse and obtained a work visa in the UK. While studying as a nurse she was also able to earn income during her training. She eventually became a permanent resident.

Did you have to apply for a certain type of nursing?

It was easier to apply to the UK under the psychiatric nursing training because there was a big demand for psychiatric nurses at the time.

Were you scared or worried about leaving home? Did you plan to come back and what sort of time scale were you thinking?

We don't know for sure, but she wasn't likely to go back to Philippines at the time. She came alone, but stayed in nursing accommodations and met many new friends and colleagues in the UK. She eventually met her husband, my dad, who had also immigrated to the UK to pursue a career as a physiotherapist from Sri Lanka.

How did your family feel?

They were happy. Minda was able to help the family a lot. They were happy she was able to have a better life in the UK. She continued to support the family back home while she was working and studying. She supported her sister to pursue nursing as well (in the Philippines) and helped to educate the rest of her 5 siblings as well.

How did you find yourself trying to integrate into English culture?

The relationship culture was different. Minda was brought up Catholic, and had strict values within the culture growing up. When she came to the UK, she was able to pursue romantic relationships - her first boyfriend was Burmese, but was on a scholarship and had to return to Burma.

Moving to the UK she was exposed to western popular culture. Minda explored and embraced a love of music when she came to the UK, collecting records and buying herself a guitar. Some of this was influenced by her family back home - her father owned a guitar and she used to sing with him while he played.

Were you homesick, what did you find the most challenging?

Minda always lamented leaving her family behind, and not being able to return as frequently or easily. She wasn't able to attend her grandparents' funerals because of the distance and difficulty leaving during her studies. This was especially hard on her as she was raised by her grandmother, Elisa de la Cuesta, and they were very close.

What has been the journey that led to you still being here right now? Do you go back home to visit?

After meeting my Dad, Rupa, in 1979, they got married in 1982 and started a family. They had me in 1984 and my sister in 1987. A special note is that both myself and my sister were delivered at the hospital that she worked - Shoreham by Sea in Worthing - by her midwife colleagues and friends!

Shortly after that, they decided to move to the USA to pursue other opportunities. After 18 months in the US, they moved the family to Canada where we are now. Minda sadly passed away in 1995. In July, we marked the 26th anniversary of her passing. A week later, I gave birth to her first grandchild: Inessa Luz Duvage Gordon.

Minda made sure to visit the family in Philippines, even as she fell ill with cancer. We kept a close connection with the cousins, aunts and uncles. This continued as Minda sponsored her sister and brother to live and work in Canada.

How long did it take before it was really home, if it is for you?

Minda made a home in the UK. Once she and my dad started a family, they searched for home where they wanted to put down roots. I am sure she still felt the Philippines was home, considering she made a trek to say goodbye to her relatives and family members there when she knew she was dying. She did however ask to be buried in Canada, where her children and family here could visit her.

Are you proud of your journey?

She was always proud of her journey, and enjoyed traveling the world - an opportunity which she wouldn't have had if not for the doors opened by her journey to the UK. They took me and my sister abroad every year, and this instilled a love of travel in us both. We have also kept a special connection with both the Philippines and Sri Lanka, one which I hope I can share with Inessa.

What are you doing now? Where do you live now?

The family lives on in Canada. Rupa is nearing retirement from his career in physiotherapy. I pursued a career in Speech Language Pathology in the public sector, and my sister is an indigenous rights lawyer. I believe our career choices were influenced by our parents being in Healthcare, and working in service of those in need.

What is your legacy here?

See above! The family now includes a grandchild:) Minda's legacy also includes that of her siblings, and their children, who are thriving here in Canada. She also supported family members back in the Philippines to start sustainable businesses, and sponsored those who were less fortunate.

She is so well loved and respected by friends and colleagues - she really touched everyone she met. She instilled her values of hard work, compassion, artistic expression, and generosity in me and my sister - and uplifting family whenever possible.

Minda was an extremely brave woman, who faced the reality of her cancer and impending with grace and courage.

Best, most enjoyable, moment/day/era working for the NHS?

Minda enjoyed the midwifery part of her career the most. She delivered more than 1000 babies. She was passionate about babies, and cared for the children of her friends and family often.

Hardest moment/day/era working for the NHS?

We can't answer this one, but she didn't tend to complain - always working hard and striving to excel no matter the circumstances.

Would you do it all again?

Again we can't answer this one.

Anything else you would like to add?

She was so loved, by her patients, colleagues, family members and friends. It's been really special to honour her story for this project. ❤