I believe that a half-century of one’s time on this planet should not pass by unrecognized. Amidst my celebrations in 2014, I had opportunity to identify and reflect on the patterns that had carried me to where I am on this broad, and every-changing canvas of life.
I was born and raised for 8 years in Kingston, Jamaica before moving with my family first to Nigeria for a year and then on to Nassau in the Bahamas where I remained until high school graduation. Despite these being early, formative years, my awareness of social and material divisions within these various cultures were sufficiently acute to influence the events in my life. These years were marked by memorable Christmas safari holidays in Kenya, beautiful homes, lush and colorful gardens bursting with exotic mango, grapefruit and guava trees, privileged education, endless beaches and sparklingly blue seas. But the harsh contrasts of hardship, suffering and deprivation were never distant within these seemingly idyllic landscapes. It was within recognition of them that silent vows were made to one day help the underprivileged and perhaps, to adopt.
A decade later, the pattern repeated itself and the circle was complete. After a college education in North America, I moved in 1989 to Hong Kong with my husband. We were surrounded and swept along by a tide of affluence. My husband was managing The American Club while I coached tennis and designed a line of ladies tennis wear. The nights offered up all the exotica one could wish for.
Over my shoulder though, as those early recollection of Africa and the Caribbean had shown me, tragic hardship was the fate of many and, in particular, of the abandoned children in the orphanages and dying rooms in mainland China. I began monthly visits to a small orphanage in Zhaoqing. My developing relationships with the children and staff taught me more about life than any classroom I had sat in. My life changed. I was determined to make a difference. These experiences were journalized and my bookChild of the Land, was born.
I live now, with my husband and four children on a farm in Florida. As I voyage out into my next half-century, there is still so much to tell. The memories of those times, and subsequent events continue to be recorded. I hope you will come further along the journey with me in my second book, Journal of the Heart.