Today on International Women’s Day, I wanted to highlight one of the major role models in my life: my great-grandmother Ello. It was a blessing it was to have known my great-grandmother. My “Grandma Ello” was an amazing woman who touched the lives of many.
I grew up hearing the stories about the impact she had as a midwife. Here are a few highlights of her story:
After caring for her ailing mother (who was suffering with Ovarian Cancer) she gained an interest for healthcare particularly pertaining to women.
In those days(1930’s) a higher education was only available off island, so she left home to complete a training in Nursing and Midwifery.
She returned to the island and converted her home making space for a Delivery Room & Nurses’ Office. She was known as the village Midwife and in her skillful hands, she delivered more than 500 babies on the island
On her 90th Birthday, Grandma Ello received “The National Order of Merit”, which is a French order of merit with membership awarded by the President of the French Republic, for her distinguished civil achievements.
Grandma Ello taught me to true meaning of selflessness and how to show up for your community in times of need. The values I learned from her and the example she set for me ultimately led me to pursue medicine.
I remember the countless times that Grandma Ello would tell me “put your education first”, as she had to quit school in the 3rd grade. She didn’t have the opportunities that I have been granted: to go to college and now to go to medical school. This pushed me to never take advantage of the educational opportunities I was given.
When I reflected on what I want my life to look like, my great-grandmother always came to mind. She showed me that a purposeful life is marked by the impact you have on others. She showed me that we must always be giving and willing to help our community. It was a known fact that if you enter Miss Ello's house, you are not leaving empty handed. From a young child, I was always instructed to grab water or tea for any guest who came by. I saw many times where she would give her own meals away, even if it meant she would not eat for the day. Altruism was simply all Grandma Ello knew.
I feel fortunate to carry on her legacy as I dedicate myself to caring for my community through medicine. And as God works in mysterious ways, I too am interested in Women’s Health.
To Grandma Ello, thank you for the lessons and inspiration you provided me. I hope I’m making you proud❤️
My Cousin Kenila's Tribute
The amazing thing about my great-grandmother is how she impacted her grands and great-grands in so many ways. Meet my cousin Kenila, a cher offering catering and private chef services on Saint Martin. Kenila also shared a tribute to Grandma Ello today. Grandma Ello was well known for her amazing johnny cakes and as children Kenila and I along with our other cousins cherished her jonny cakes. I truly would do anything to have one again...one more time.
On this International Women's Day, I choose to honor my Grandma Ello. Her love for food trickled down to me through my Father. One of my fondest memories of her is her kneeding johnny cake dough while telling us about how simple life used to be. With each batch of johnny cakes I make, I feel like it is a little piece of her I get to hold to. Happy International Women's Day to all women out there, let's keep our culture and values alive.
To learn more about Chef Kenila and how she is also keeping our great-grandmothers legacy alive through cooking, follow the link below:
Happy International Women's Day everyone! I hope you find some time today to cherish and celebrate the women in your life who inspire you. I know that I am so blessed to have so many amazing role models in my family who show me everyday what it means to be a strong woman.