I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, nothing happens before its time and “what is fi yuh cannot be un fi yuh”**.
This is a lesson I learnt from my mother while I was in high school and it has guided the way I have lived my life since.
See… I attended the Westwood High School in Stewart Town Trelawny from 2001-2006. While the school prided itself on equality and non discrimination regardless of class, colour or creed the general impression was still that only the children of the rich that attended this “expensive” but extremely good all girls boarding school.
If you know me, you know that where I am from in St Ann is the definition of rural Jamaica and my parents are the definition of humble beginnings. During my Westwood Sojourn my mother was a dressmaker, a farmer and in my eyes a magician while my father was a construction worker in Kingston… Clearly not the profile of the average Westwood Student. But I was born to defy odds.
Many persons thought my mother was crazy to be sending me to this school and some even criticized her decision saying she was “hanging her basket where she can’t reach it”**. But my mother had a dream for me that she was determined to see through even if no one else could see her dream too and that meant sacrifices became her way of life.
Westwood depended on their boarding fees to keep the programme running as this was not funded by the Government, so naturally the policy was that fees are expected to be paid at the beginning of each school term. Of course my mother went in and made alternate arrangements with the burser and principal to divide each term’s fee in 4. So other parents got three vouchers per year, my mother got 12. That for her was a much easier way of paying the bills than trying to find a lump sum.
On one occasion my mother mother just simply did not have the money for my school fees and the deadline was fast approaching. Feeling helpless she remembered that my aunt had once told her that if she ever needed any help she should reach out, so she did.
She bought herself some credit (out of the already limited funds she had) so she could make a long distance call and got in touch with my aunt. She explained the situation to her and asked for a loan to help cover the costs.
She was sure my aunt would send her even US $50 as that would cover what she needed (the Jamaican dollar valued a lot more back then US $50 would have valued about JMD $4000 at the time).
To her surprise however my aunt did not give her the loan, instead she told her “don’t worry Sister Joy, God is an on-time God and he will come through for you”
My mother was disappointed but not disheartened. The loan was not to be but she still had a deadline to meet and a daughter depending on her. With that in mind she put her water boots on, picked up her cutlass and headed for her bush (farm).
She had a crop of cabbage that she had begun reaping the week before and although common sense told her there would be nothing there to find she decided she still had to try.
Miraculously she found more cabbage than she could carry on her own and ended up having to borrow a donkey from another farmer to transport the produce to the shop where she would sell it to one of the market vendors.
With that she was able to pay my school fees and have some money left over to take care of some other business at home. The best part of it all was that she did not have to pay that money back to anyone.
She had called my aunt asking for help via a loan but the help she got was much more valuable; a reminder that God is an on-time God and He always comes through”
My mother did not immediately share this story with me, mostly because she did not want me to worry about the finances but I will forever be grateful that she eventually did as this story deepened my faith in God.
Trust the timing of everything. Just because its not happening right now doesn’t mean it never will. God is an on-time God.
**”What is fi yuh can not be un fi yuh” – Jamaican saying that means if it is your destiny nothing can stop it from happening.
**”hanging her basket where she can’t reach it” – Jamaican saying that means one is living above their means.
– Shermaine Grant