Why We Serve – Clara Brown

“We can’t help EVERYONE but EVERYONE can help SOMEONE.” Unknown

I grew up in the deep rural hills of Gibraltar located in North West St. Ann in Jamaica. The community was predominately a farming community to varying levels and scales.

Farmers would meet and irrespective of what crops each grew, they would share their ideas that would guarantee to get ‘bumper crops’. They would meet at each other’s farms and provide ‘free labour’. A lot of the farmers depended on the use of what was known as the Almanac. This was like a farming encyclopedia which provided guidelines on what and when to plant and what crops would give maximum yields during any given season. Farmers would meet every second Thursday of the month and the literate among them would read from the Almanac so that the illiterate would gain knowledge and do the right thing.

Persons who grew up in this kind of environment will recall that seasons were not determined by Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter but by the crops planted. Growing up, the significance of this level of sharing was not lost on us.

Our village was small and close-knit. In fact, my mother usually discouraged us from dating anyone (once we came of age) in our village as chances were we were related. Outside of that admonition, we were always encouraged to be kind. Help when you can and do not, never look down on others. The difference between our family and another was a day. Today for you, tomorrow for the other.

Having those phrases drilled into us in our formative years developed our consciousness and our passion for the years to come. I was socialized to HELP…to SERVE…to ENCOURAGE….to MOTIVATE. I was never threatened by someone else taking over from me but to the contrary, I am usually very supportive. I will TEACH. I will give DIRECTION and when I do not know how to, I will seek to find out how.

Being a part of the DOS Foundation journey from inception to now, as we embark on a new phase, fits beautifully with my purpose as I examine and design my steps to create a better tomorrow for my gender and their children.

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