As we recognize our Jamaican National Heroes Patrick Mitchell, former president of the Jamaican Cultural Connection asked; “why would those men and women gave their lives like that?” Then, he answered his own question by emphasizing the fact that they were proving a point of what they were passionate about. And with that
it cost them their lives. At this point, he was sure they did not intend to be heroes, but their heroism deserves to be recognized and be taught to our children.
Hopefully, our children will be inspired by their examples and build their brand of legacy. October is National Heroes and Heritage Month in Jamaica where we remember Paul Bogle, Sir
Alexander Bustamante, Marcus Garvey, George William Gordon, Norman Manley, Nanny of the Maroons and Samuel Sharpe. We reminisced about our ancestors, our beginnings, our language, and the “grounds” we have covered so far. This inheritance was crooned by Harry Belafonte when he sang, “Oh, Island in the sun, Willed to me by my father’s hand.
All my days I will sing in praise of your forest, waters, your shinning sand…” Jamaican Cultural Connection is bubbling with joy after our guest speaker, Ms. Fae Ellington, delivered a memorable recollection of stories, facts and ballads of our homeland. She invited us into her study via Zoom Saturday October 24, 2020. This virtual presentation was highlighted by our Jamaican anthem and invocation by Pastor Groce, North Orlando Seventh Day Adventist Church. Virtual fanfare is the new norm during this pandemic of Covvid19. The presentation of our National heroes by JCC members was inspirational, especially when we were reminded that they were ordinary men and one woman who gave their time and ultimately their lives.
Ms. Ellington is the epitome of a Jamaican who was born in the fifty’s; shaped by the sixties; fired and glazed throughout the seventies. She is patriotic and passionate about her birth country, Jamaica. Her career in Broadcast Media and Journalism started in 1974, that was three years after she established herself as an actress. Since 1971 she has put her stamp of excellence and professionalism and demonstrated her versatility through her work in theatre, media, and culture. She is a sought-after orator and master of ceremonies at home and abroad. She is a household name in Jamaica and the diaspora for over four decades.
She enhances the good of who we were and while we’re still striving for the better good of who we can become. She expressed appreciation for our ten years of serving the community with the mention of the past presidents and meticulous coordination of the program by Miss. Enis Maxwell.
Her story of cleaning the floors with heated wax against a coconut brush on bended knees of long ago caused jealousy within me. I reflected on my full vacuum cleaners leaning in the closet from my procrastination to empty them. Yes, “vacuum cleaners” because there are many, that are lined up seemingly abandoned because of the possibility of disposability whenfull, to a local charity. She transformed us right back into the field of cutting bushes, banana bunch and singing as the farmers worked. We were invited to join her in singing folk songs with multiple starting points which created an orchestration of laughter.
Soon after I could hear my belly crying out for a hot cup of “pot wata” to ease the pressure that was created by the inhalation of the aroma of fresh memories. At the end of the evening all “home sickness” was cured by the feva grass, cerassie, lemon skin tea or the hot cup of cafee. Smiling was not an option; it was mandatory as she serenaded the couples with poetry.
Oh, how refreshing to be reminded of where we are coming from and how we got here knowing each bend was a season of memories. An alter call would have been a fitting conclusion to a message of pleasantness as she closed by saying “walk good”.
Rosemarie Roth, President of JCC, can be reached at jccnow.org or (352) 321-0932