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Eulogy of the late Bertina Sheila Akers

Eulogy of the late Bertina Sheila Akers

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15.MAY.09

by son Arthur Elroy Edwards

Today we celebrate the life of the woman known as Bertina “Sheila” Ackers affectionately known as “Mama” by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was a mother to one and all.

She was born in the village of Troumaca on the 7th day of October 1928 to parents Euphema Akers and Mr. Jordan. At the age of 19 years she came to Kingstown where she took up residence and give birth to seven children all of whom survived her, she is also survived by two sisters Mrs. Patsy O’Garro of Chateaubelair and Mrs. Uva Trotman of Trinidad and Tobago and brother Edward Thompson of Barbados.{{more}}

Those of us familiar with history will realize that 1928 the time of her birth was a period of great social and economic turmoil, not only in St. Vincent and the Grenadines but through out the world. In fact, it is somewhat ironic that she was born just before the onset of the great economic depression of the 1930 and died 80 years later at a time when some experts are predicting another great economic depression.

The Second World War that started in 1939 when she was a young child brought on even more hardship on the entire population of this country, mama would often disclose to us the difficulties which they experienced in that period and drastic measures which they had to adopt in order to cope with the situation.

Mama’s entire adult life was devoted to the upbringing of her children, when they had grown up she took responsibility for the grandchildren. She was always there for her children and for her extended family that included many nieces, nephews and cousins who made frequent visit to her home. She had a special bond with a number of her relatives which included Olive Barbour, called Tanty Olive by Mama’s children and Selwyn Burke by a few.

Mama worked extremely hard to maintain her children at great personal sacrifice, in doing so she had three main principles; firstly put God first ñ she was a God Fearing person and though us to read the bible and attend church regularly from an early age. Her greatest wish before she died was for those of her children who had strayed from her religious upbringing to come back to God.

Secondly was education, she ensured to the best of her ability that her children got a proper education. Attendance to school was mandatory rain or shine. Mama didn’t complete her primary education and didn’t attend Secondary school but she was no fool, she was an ardent reader, a good worker and had an extremely good grasp of mental arithmetic. Had there been an education revolution then she would no doubt have gone to be a university professor or a high-qualified member of society. Her efforts in educating her children have already began to bear fruit as can attested by the fact that three of her grandchildren have already graduated from university and several others have attended or are attending community college and well on their way to university.

The third principle was her emphasis on manners and behavior. She did not tolerate misbehavior and any violation of her strict code of behavior was met with severe flogging. For us children it was early to bed and early to rise, she taught us not to be jealous of the neighbors and to practice good hygiene and many many other wise teachings in our upbringing.

Truly she was a wise woman and well respected by everyone wherever she resided. One of our mother’s greatest skills was the management of the family budget; this was necessary as there were many mouths to feed and not enough resources to provide for all. This means that the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes was repeated in our home on a daily basis. She was also a good agriculturist and herbalist and spent most of her time in her kitchen gardens. Even though the kitchen gardens were small friends and family had a regular supply of lettuce, peppers and other vegetables. Over the years she produced several products, some for sale and other simply for the family. These include chocolate (coca) that is quite popular, pepper sauce, sugar cakes, tart and fruit wines especially paw paw wines and jam and jellies. My mother was truly a multi dimensional woman, she was a giant of a woman, hard working, devoted to her task, energetic, caring, loving, and forgiving. We love her dearly and will sincerely miss her but God knows best so He called her home to rest in peace until that day of eternity. To us her children, grandchildren, close relatives and friends she will forever be MAMA to us. We will always remember you!!!

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