Women’s month is March, and we celebrate accordingly. It would be remiss of me not to capitalize on this beautiful opportunity to proudly utilize this platform to highlight and salute a few women who continuously emanate women’s strength despite their age. The eldest, being 96 years young, age is no limit to their resilience or ongoing pandemic. Despite the continuation, in no way, shape, or form has dampened their passion for life. The women highlighted in this article represent other women across this island, the Caribbean, and the world. During April, we will tell their stories to inspire you.
Productive, hardworking and reliable are just a few words to describe Ms Daisy Phipps from the hills of Rock Hall, St Andrew. The yam specialist farms carrot, Irish potatoes, corn, peas, bok choi and plantain, to name a few. Ms Daisy shares that she is proud to have customers over the generations.
Lena Coley and Daphne Walters of Litchfield, Manchester, is the mother and daughter farming team. They continue to furnish tables across the island. At 96, Ms Lena is still farming alongside her 73-year-old daughter Daisy Walters who also raises chicken. A mother and grandmother to many, both ladies work hard on their farm despite the pandemic daily.
Sheila Bent from Darliston, Westmoreland, is a herbalist and rabbit farmer. During the early stages of the pandemic, she had to remain at home and could not purchase rabbit feeding. Nevertheless, Ms Bent got support from her farm store owner, who sent her a few rabbit feed bags. Eager to repay her debt, she ventured out to sell curry powder which she processed herself and quickly repaid her debt.
Almena Wallace hails from the quiet community of Axe and Adze, Hanover. She has been farming since she was eighteen years old and recently celebrated her 77th birthday. Mrs Wallace proudly has her seven (7) years old granddaughter Carissa enjoying farming beside her grandmother. Ms Wallace cultivates yam, dasheen, pumpkin, cane, plantain, banana, gungo peas and broad beans.
Overcomer Ms Delores Chung is from St. James. Although recovering from a stroke, she engages in farming-related activities. Ms Chung is a livestock farmer raising layer birds and rabbits. She is also an agriculturist. During the pandemic, her biggest concern is the high level of food scarcity. She recounts several children passing her gate asking for food. “There are times I offer them fried eggs and bread, but sometimes I don’t have any bread. Ruth, we have to do something”.
Having worked with senior citizens for over 15 years to the ladies, I say – you inspire me. I salute you. My prayer is that God will continue to bless the work of your hands. May He continue to grant to you health, strength and long life so you can continue to contribute significantly to your family and fellow Jamaicans.