The reward of struggle and sacrifice

Sunday, August 17, 2014

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This newspaper takes great pride in its reputation for striving, as much as possible, to provide inspiration and hope through its news stories, features and commentaries.

For what is to become of a people without hope?

We are satisfied that yesterday's Sunday Observer provided aplenty those messages of vision and inspiration for which we are so proud.

Readers should catch up with our story of small businessman Mr Lincoln Gordon of Clarendon who, through determination and innovation, is carving a space in the jerk sauce niche. In the process, he is creating employment and wealth for the greater good of community and country.

Likewise, a must-read is the story of successful farming in the New Forest/Duff House area of South Manchester, amidst one of the worst droughts of living memory, because of the implementation since last year of irrigation. That service, we might add, needs to be extended to progressive farming communities as a matter of first priority.

For us, most inspiring of all, is the story of Ms Tashana Rowe, now an assistant branch manager at Citibank North America in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Daughter of a struggling vendor and farmer in Thornton, St Elizabeth, Ms Rowe — a past student of St Elizabeth Technical High School — landed a sports scholarship at the University of Maine as her high school years ended.

Scholarship notwithstanding, Ms Rowe needed financial support from her mother to the tune of US$3,000 per semester to survive at university. Her mother, who depended heavily on retail sales of clothing at the Santa Cruz arcade, was supporting her four other children at the same time.

Disaster struck in 2008 when a massive fire destroyed the Santa Cruz arcade. Her mother lost her entire stock.

Just as an aside, the relocation of the burnt-out vendors by the St Elizabeth Parish Council turned out to be a nightmare. Further, the space from which the vendors were relocated against their wishes remains mostly unoccupied five years after it was redeveloped as a taxi park. The entire episode speaks to the inadequacies of local governance in modern Jamaica. But all that is for another time.

To get back to Ms Rowe: The sudden loss of her mother's business in Jamaica meant she had to drop out of university and fend for herself.

Yet, Ms Rowe, her mother, and the wider family never gave up. She would eventually return to university to complete her coursework and is now eyeing further studies as well as advancement in her banking career.

We are struck by the words of Ms Rowe's mother, Ms Valrie Berry. Says she: "Through tears I did what I could... I remember I stayed hungry just for them to go to school."

It's testimony to a mother's recognition that by all means necessary her children must have a better life.

Our readers, we hope, will take heart from stories such as Ms Rowe's; that even when all seems lost, and it is easier just to give up, they should keep fighting. For when all is said and done, only effort, struggle, and sacrifice will bring sustainable success.




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