Yemalla Edwards from brokenness to total happiness
Soon-to-be-doctor Yemalla Edwards has faced a lot of challenges in his young life. While in his first year as a medical student at the University of the West Indies, he had to deal with 'sleeping around on campus' as he could not afford to travel back and forth from his home in McCooks Pen, St Catherine.
Peace and Love Academic Scholarship (PALAS) founder Ruel 'Rula' Brown found out about his struggles and has been in his corner ever since.
Just when his life has been coming together and he on his final stretch of being a full-fledged doctor, he lost his mother, who was one of his biggest supporters.
But in the midst of his pain, there came sunlight through the love of his life his fiancee Janel Kimberly Stewart whom he met on Facebook in 2015.
"We first made contact through Facebook in September after she saw the story CVM did covering my journey from where I started to where I was currently. She shared the story and sent me a message to say that the video was very inspirational and that one shouldn't give up on their dreams and aspirations in life," he said.
Edwards thanked her and wished her all the best. That conversation became an extended one.
Soon Edwards was balancing his studies and a blossoming long- distance friendship from England, which turned out to be a blessing as he said with the five-hour gap he didn't have to compromise any studying time.
"So when I finished school she was already home studying or getting ready to go to bed. Our communication was always done virtually, which also allowed us to really get to know each other. No worries I know I wasn't cat fished because we Skyped and she's in my year book from St Catherine High," he shared, musing at the fact that they never crossed paths in school something he chalks up to God's perfect timing.
Edwards said although they didn't meet in person until 11 months after their virtual contact, he felt an instinctive immediate connection to her.
"It was so weird ... I started asking her if someone had sent her to prank me. My friends used to always laugh at me and say I'll need to make my girlfriend in a lab because the type of woman I'm looking for isn't possible to find. But she is proof that they are wrong! We had similar views on social issues, moral values and goals in life," he said.
Edwards met her mother before he met her in person and that experience he said made him even more excited to meet her in the flesh
"Then the day came when I picked her up at the airport, and, honestly, from that moment on, we clicked like we had known each other for years. She's ambitious, she's driven and she's selfless, always motivating me to become a better me and to think beyond the scope I'm used to," he said, in admiration of the love of his life.
Another blessing for Edwards is that when his mother passed she was in the island and proved to be his main support, something he said played a major role in the way he viewed her and their relationship.
Edwards was so sure of Janel being the one for him that last year he asked her mother's blessings months before he actually popped the question to her at the Terra Nova Hotel on December 30, with just her immediate family and his father present.
"Before the dinner, I was a bit nervous, but when the time actually arrived seeing her and all our loved ones, I was confident and ready to declare my love for her. My heart was so overwhelmed that I am fortunate enough to have her not only in my life, but also that this individual will be my wife," he said.
His fiancee, who hails from Clarendon, migrated to England at age six, returned to Jamaica for her high school years. Now back in that country, she has completed her studies chemical and process engineering and is now pursuing her business ventures.
A bittersweet moment for him in all this is the reality he still hasn't fully come to terms with yet and that is the loss of his mother.
"But I know she's always with me. I might not have to luxury of seeing her anymore, but I know she's watching over us. My heart is content in knowing that Janel met my mum before her passing and I know she would have given blessings in our union," he said.
Edwards closed his interview with one simple wish dedicated to his fiancee and it is "May I continue to love you like how Christ loves the Church. May we continue to keep God as our foundation on which we build on. May as our love grow, so does our faith. I love you endlessly and may we continue to make strides to better each other in all aspects of our lives."