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Tribute: Mrs Germaine Stephens

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09.MAY.08

by the Rev. Dr. T. Anne Danie

God-motherPar Excellence

It was divine intervention when Ms. Germaine Stephens was chosen to be my God-mother. She nurtured me as if I were the only God-child she ever had, but spared no moment for discipline and good advice. My anticipated nicely-wrapped Christmas and birthday gifts often caused me to toe the line. My God-mother stood for ethics and etiquette. Among the gems I have observed, the one that stands out is: ‘if you cannot say good about someone, say nothing.’{{more}}

Educator

Aunt G’s teaching went beyond the classroom. I began my teaching career with aunt G as the Headmistress of the Clare Valley Infant School where she extended herself for the development of that community. She organized meaningful Christmas and Easter concerts. Having gone to the Holy Land, aunt G was able to bring the biblical narratives alive. I learned much from aunt G. My distinction in Practice Teaching at Teachers’ College after one year in the profession is largely attributed to aunt G’s tutorship.

Religiously Enterprising

My God-mother occupied every leadership position in Chauncey Methodist Church. Through her influence in Sunday school I laboured over the memory verses. I moved through the grades to the Youth Class having passed all the external examinations. When I was age 16 Aunt G. appointed me as an assistant teacher which meant meeting with her on Fridays to prepare lesson plans. Much zeal for the work of the Lord was exemplified with her desire to transform the lives of young people through class meetings.

Matriarchal Model

The model of confidence crossed the stage of my mind whenever I saw my God-mother walk. She actually made a statement of dignity; every step resounded with a motto for the community to emulate. Everyone’s behaviour changed when my God-mother made her appearance. Her aura was inviting, her deportment was immaculate, and if ever she took the opportunity to express her thoughts, her words were impeccable. My God-mother was the matriarchal model with transformative elements.

Attentive to Small Matters

I am greatly touched by my God-mother’s attention to small matters. Her philosophy, I believe, is ‘incremental changes warrant equal adjustment.’ The different ways that my God-mother addressed me throughout the ages as my circumstances and achievements changed, speak volume. My God-mother moved from calling me by my play name, to my Christian name, to my last name preceded by ‘Miss’, to my religious title, to my academic title.

Intuitive

My God-mother has the ability to know things without much research. I call to mind the preparation for the annual church harvest. My God-mother always had a cantata, and she decorated the church with fruits and flowers. The young people really enjoyed the decoration aspect for it afforded us the opportunity to sneak off with some fruits. My God-mother always knew when a fruit was missing. To add insult to injury she knew who took it and sometimes even where it was hidden.

Never trifling

Aunt G is an avid reader. At home when she is not busy in the kitchen, or attending to her plants, she is reading. She feels that every child shall be enrolled in a library. That I did not mind, but in a casual conversation she often wanted a verbal book review. She also feels that learning takes place through play. Whenever I went to her house which was a mere 200 yards away, and I had 15 minutes to spare something profitable had to be done with that time. No matter how often I played Snakes and Ladders, Ludo, and Monopoly I never wanted to say no the next time, for the intermission was filled with delicious snacks.

Enhancer of beauty

Aunt G’s outward beauty is a replica of her inner beauty. She is very concerned about the beauty of the inner self, of relationships, of landscape. Even now she still engineers the beauty of self, surrounding and society. My God-mother maintained the holistic beauty of Chauncey, Clare Valley and other communities. She encouraged everyone to become. My God-mother is my heroine. May God richly bless you. I love you.

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