Raised by A Rose from the Flower Capital of Dominica

CariMan
Adom Philogene Heron

A CariMAN Mother’s Day Conversation with Lester Guye:

In this short interview during the lead up to Mothers Day 2013 (12th May) and The 2013 Giraudel Flower show (19th May), Adom Philogene Heron (researcher on family life in Dominica and Cariman member) caught up with Lester Guye (psychologist/counsellor at The National HIV and AIDS Response Unit and Cariman member) to discuss Lester’s memories of his mother – from his time raising up in Eggleston, through his educational years, and up to the present.

This special CariMAN conversation is a tribute not only to Lester’s mother, but to all of the mothers and motherly substitutes across Dominica and her Diaspora. On behalf of all of your sons CariMAN extends an extra special ‘Thank you’.

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A Beautiful Flower

APH:  What is your mother’s name?

LG:  Roselyn

APH:  And when you think of that name what is the first thing that springs to your mind?

LG:  A rose obviously! [a smile suddenly lights up his face]

APH: A rose? So a beautiful flower?

LG: Oh, definitely!

Raising up

APH: Give us a little background, some context on where you raised up and the family you raised up in.

LG: I grew up in Eggleston/ Giraudel, the flower village of Dominica. I grew up with my mum, always a single parent. It has always been she, myself and my [younger] sister. It’s only later in life that I developed a relationship with my father, but it has always been mum. She worked at one of the supermarkets [in Roseau]; she has been there from since my sister was born.

A Perennial Educational Support

APH: One thing I remember you mentioning in a previous discussion is how supportive your mum was of your education. You mentioned how proud she was when you got into secondary school.

LG: Oh extremely supportive! Oh man! Secondary school, yes I remember that. I remember my mother buying stuff for us, buying your school stuff. And you could see more pride in her face than you yourself was probably feeling, you understand. Just the fact that she can safely say that “my kids, my son is going to secondary school” was something very important to her.  And I think it carried through, not only through secondary school, but when I went out to university [in Mexico]… You were assured that every time she called you would get a boost of energy, or encouragement. And she would let you know that “Eh listen, I will go through the grinds for you to know that you will complete successfully”.

APH: So she offered emotional support throughout your studies?

LG: Exactly, you know emotional support was there, financial support was there. I remember at a point when she herself wasn’t even well. And she would encourage me not to worry about her because you got to do  what you got to do. “You have to do what you have to do”. Because she have support back home, because she’s back home. But you on the other hand are flying solo to an extent, so you have to keep your focus. Those kind of things meant a lot to me, they really meant a lot to me.

The Only Woman I Can Truly Rely On

APH: You mentioned in another conversation that you learned from a young age that your mother was the only woman you could truly rely on. At what point did you come to come to realise that?

LG:  It would be my late teenage years… in our society at a certain age you’re supposed to somewhat be on your own, doing your own stuff. You have your little hitches, your little hiccups, but I could never remember a time when I could not call on her, when she wasn’t able to help – she would go the extra mile… In the given situations you knew that an extra effort had to be in place… based on the circumstances that were presented to us, financially and socially at the time. And it has stuck with me you know, and in any given situation, no matter where I am and what I’m doing I Know that I can call on her at any time.

From Provided to Provider

APH: I know that in his relationship to a mother, as a boy becomes a man, there is often a tipping point when he is no longer completely dependent on his mother and he begins to provide for and care for her as she grows old. Do you think of this as you look to the future, or even now?

LG: That’s a good question because it is something that has been established in my mind that whenever everything is said and done, she is retired and everything, for me the fact that she has to live with me–, it’s almost inevitable, it’s something that will just be. I will take pride in it.

I will even joke with her now. My mum is very particular about what she eat. So I will joke with her and say, “when you come to live with me, you get is what you will take!” [we laugh]. Just being troublesome, like naughty. Telling her, “eh listen, you know the tables have turned”. Out of love you know…. I have never said, “When you’re with my sister” or “if you have your own home”. No. It’s like “when you live with me, I am the one who will be cooking for you at some point”. So it’s Almost like I look forward to it.

Food is Love

APH: So food has a very special place in your relationship with your mother?

LG: I am not one of those people that are not very particular about what I eat. [But] I don’t eat meat and stuff… I can remember specifically when my mum would cook on a Sunday and she is making food for everybody and she would make the same thing, my own, but without meat. And that was never a problem. It was never like “oh, why can’t I just cook one pot” or “find something to do for yourself”. It was always like, “Lester, I did this for you and before I put the meat in I took out yours”…

Even recently, there is something I really like when I cook, I like tomatoes. My mum don’t really like it… Just the other day before I went overseas, she cook one day she says, “Lester, I put tomatoes in this because I know you like it”. And For me it was like wow. It seems like something so minute and simple, but in my head, for me it really meant something large for me.

…Even when I was younger I would go out and not eat. Even when you’d offer me something, I would not eat because I know my mother is preparing something and I have to eat my mum’s food. And it’s not out of disrespect for you, but it’s out of respect for her.

… And anytime I am with someone and she asks me have I eaten, it means a lot, it carries a lot of weight for me – because my mother does it… It’s something that meant a lot to her, that we’re never hungry. So for me, somebody looking out for my wellbeing in terms of alimentary stuff, for me meant a lot.

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For mother’s day CariMAN in partnership with the Dominica National Council of Women will be giving a hamper to an individual Dominican mother who has been nominated by her community for her outstanding, exemplary and sacrificial motherly love.

To learn more of CariMAN’s work in Dominica and the Region: http://cariman.org/cariman-countries/dominica/ 

For more on Adom’s PhD research please visit: http://fathermen.blogspot.com/

For some background on The National HIV and AIDS Response Programme where Lester Works as a counsellor please visit: http://dominicanewsonline.com/news/homepage/news/health/dominica-assesses-its-national-hivaids-response-programme/

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21 Comments

  1. Shana
    August 19, 2013

    So while my bro sent me the article after it was done and we discussed it I never actually saw this on DNO. Quite by accident I found this and again, it almost made me cry. Do see me in my office with tears in my eyes. Funny. Everything Lester has said about mum is sooo true. She is a Rose like no other. The apple of our eye. There isn’t a moment when my mum has not been there, even from miles away I still feel her love. And every time I call, oh man. Fantastic. As for my bro Lester, I don’t think I could have gotten a more loving bro than the one I have. We’re all extremely proud of him.

  2. hm!
    May 14, 2013

    This is really nice. Very good Lester, keep the love going for Roslyn.

  3. dayandnightvision
    May 14, 2013

    Les I have always admired the youg man you have turned out to be. Thanks to your mom Roselyn. I have told her so myself
    This interview just strengthened my admiration for you., Keep this up and you will be truly blessed. Do not let anyone and i mean ANYONE come between you and your mom. Stay blessed my dear

  4. Cousin
    May 14, 2013

    Adom, you are very intelligent indeed. you really brought out alot in this young man.-lESTER Guye, i am thrilled at your questions and his responses, that makes any mother feel like a queen.To the the both Roslyn, hats off.Lester mum is called Roslyn and your mum is also called Roslyn.Well done Adom, you are blessed.

  5. Cousin
    May 13, 2013

    i was wondering myself, because i know Adom is a white boy from England, they have similarities though their mums are both from Dominica and their mums names are the same –Roslyn.

  6. Student
    May 13, 2013

    DNO, The photo is captioned -Adom Philogene Heron, wasn’t that supposed to be Lester Guye’s name instead since he is the one in the pic?

    Just asking- not sure

  7. Pondera
    May 13, 2013

    Excellent discussion! I love your expression Lester. You focused on the simple but most meaningful things. What a wonderful tribute to your mum. You have added more meaningful life to your existence.

  8. Me
    May 13, 2013

    Well said Lester….Roselyn is a precious gem and she has raised two kind hearted, beautiful children. May God continue to bless you all.

  9. My two cents
    May 13, 2013

    Those thoughts coming from a young man in connection with his MOM wow I did not know your MOM before but I definitely know her now from the deep respect, love,comparison you have for her. Diamond, silver, and gold dose’nt make you a great MOM just beening there for your children no matter what age they are give you the right to be called MOTHER thank God for her.

  10. nature Girl
    May 13, 2013

    What a wonderful article a fantastic tribute from Lester to his Mother. It actually brought tears to my eyes, to feel the love and compassion, the thoughtfulness of both Lester and his Mother for each other. How the little things that we do in life for each other mean so much. Lester you are truly blessed to have such a wonderful hard working Mother! One Love!

  11. me
    May 13, 2013

    ADMIN: the picture is that of Lester Guye

  12. NEGRE BORD LA MER
    May 13, 2013

    Nice article Adom. You all put goosebumps on my neck so early in the morning.

  13. OOOOO
    May 13, 2013

    I know all this to be true, reading it made me wanna cry and at the same time made me feel very proud of this young man…Roslyn u have a very very special son!

  14. vi massive
    May 13, 2013

    I feel so good reading this beautiful interview…Young man,God bless you and all the young men like you in Dominica. God bless your mother and all the wonderful mothers around Dominica. My mother gone to meet the father 20years ago and I can stilll feel that mother’s love all around me… Again God bless you, God bless our Beautiful Dominica.

  15. nice
    May 13, 2013

    Very good Lester, keep the love going, mothers are special and u are a nice guy..

  16. Anonymous
    May 12, 2013

    Lester, you did it for us, CariMAN you certainly made us proud

  17. Live from the T.dot
    May 12, 2013

    Well done Lester. Your mom has done a great job with you. I know her very well and she has always been a hard working and caring mother. God bless you Roselyn. Lester proud to see that you have grown up to be a fine young man.

  18. May 12, 2013

    There is nothing more precious than the Love of a young man towards his mother, there is nothing more splendorous than the love of a mother towards her children–especially her young son, even when he is an adult.

    I am the mother to a son in his adult years; my love for him has grown according to his years in existence. This Love in my heart for him, will never stop growing.

    Lester Guy, I know your mother. She was a student in our School of Giraudel, where I worked as teacher from 1968 to 1974, before I immigrated to Canada.

    I have no doubt about your heart towards her. I know that our mothers of Giraudel and Eggliston are women who are like the “Lioness and her cubs”. She will rush to the refuge for her children–there is no doubt about this.

  19. "O" STRESS"
    May 12, 2013

    We are happy some of us are eternaly greatful for what our parents done for us,it only brings blessings thru ou our entire life. Good for you young man you`re bless. Sorry, in our world these days it is almost taboo, to give our parents credit and be ever greatful for every thing they did for us.I am reading this story and geting goose bumbs cause I been there and knows the importance of saying thank you for the blessings and the proper mentoring meated ou by my parents.

  20. As I see it
    May 12, 2013

    Okay Lester, I hope you are spoiling Roselyn today. She has spoilt you for all these years. Your turn to cook.

  21. harlem
    May 12, 2013

    Great deep sincere manly vibes
    showing that Love for your mum is part of the foundation of life
    Well said Lester for you are blessed

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