This is the second article in the “recap series” on Ras Tafari works and culture as promised to the readers.
The Ethiopian Millennium brought with it a new initiative of Elders Care in Ethiopia, established by the Iniversal Development of Ras Tafari Inc. In 2007 at the dawn of the Ethiopian Millennium, Sister Shaz Akira typed out the framework of an Elders Medical Fund as part of her contribution to the works in Elders Care. Shaz did this work while being driven from Debreziet (Mount Olive) to Shashamane, Ethiopia. In Shashamane, the Project was shared with the various leaders of the Houses and Mansions of Ras Tafari, along with Brother Aldwyn Mcfee and Sister Tibebwa, (Shashamane Social Welfare Security Administrator and committed funding agent respectively).
Today, through the dedicated caregivers in Shashamane (Sisters: Bev, Paulette Asher, Fayolin Benjamin, Jasmine, Lena, Melanie and Brothers: Kabinda, Iyudah and Kassa), and the leadership of IDOR’s Project liaison, Brother Reuben Kush, the project continues to benefit Ras Tafari Elders in Ethiopia.
This Ras Tafari practice and actual delivery of community services and Elders care in particular, has deep rooted origins in the traditions of African family piety. Although modern workforce commitments make it extremely difficult for families to give adequate service to their elders and children, many African families on the continent and across the Diaspora continue to strive for, and are achieving the necessary balance of maintaining the dignity and integrity of their Elders.
I know one such family that is nestled in St. Margret’s Bay, a city located in the beautiful Parish of Portland, Jamaica. The matriarch of the family is Mertilda Walker, a 98 year old Maroon, and my very own grandmother.
I just returned from a visit with Gong Gong as Mertilda is affectionately called, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to present to her three of my children for her blessing and counsel.
Although her vision has dimmed, and her hearing is less than perfect, Gong remains an institution of great learning to our family. Her memory, wit and articulation of the past remain unaffected by her diminished physical abilities; she is completely unencumbered by her challenges, and accepts each as new ways to learn and adjust to.
Grandma Mertilda’s life and example continues to inform my own journey toward patience and humility, and I share this brief article as a mean of motivating our daily commitment to protecting our Elders, those who live within our communes, parishes, states and even our households.
Very special thanks to my Aunt Barbara and the Family in Portland for the continued extraordinary care given to Gong Gong. May the new moon of 2013, reignite our personal and communal commitments to serve our fellow human and to provide charity where it is most deserved and needed!!
I close with images of some of our matriarchs and patriarchs who have fought in the liberation struggle and some who have finished their course.
In ALL things InI acknowledge HIM (His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie I, JAH Ras Tafari), and give Praises continually!
May the Power of the Trinity be our ever-living guide!!