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Singer Roy Rayon reaches out to Gloria Lewis

Published:Saturday | July 9, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Paulette Dowe, senior lecturer at Excelsior Community College, and singer Roy Rayon give a tin of peas to blind senior citizen Gloria 'Miss Mama' Lewis at her home in Knollis, St Catherine, on Saturday, June 18. - Photo by Paul H. Williams

Paul H. Williams, Gleaner Writer

KNOLLIS, St Catherine:

Jamaica knows him as the singer who electrifies any stage on which he performs, and some people called him 'Mr Festival', he being a many-time winner of the annual Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's Festival Song Competition. Yet, there is a side to Roy Rayon that is as important to him as his music that many people do not know of. "It's like second nature," he told The Gleaner, on Saturday, June 18 as he talked about his penchant for charity, "it's just me."

Moreover, he said he himself has been at the receiving end many times in his life, recalling that he was assisted with stipends while he was a part-time student at Cultural Training Centre's Jamaica School of Drama. "It's not about going around getting praises. For me, that's not important," he said. "People have done a whole lot for me, so therefore, it is reciprocity. People have been doing for me, so if I can do it for somebody, I am going to do it."

So, recently, when Paulette Dowe, herself a most generous and charitable person, and senior lecturer at Excelsior Community College in St Andrew, told Rayon about the plight of the blind senior citizen, Gloria 'Miss Mama' Lewis, as reported in The Gleaner of February 12, Rayon, a chartered member, past president and vice-president of the Optimist Club of Harbour View, quickly jumped on board. On Saturday, June 18 he, Dowe and I travelled to St Catherine to make a donation of food and clothes to Miss Mama.

Miss Mama's living situation has changed since The Gleaner highlighted her story. On the insistence of her son, Roxann Small, Miss Mama's sometime provider, brought Miss Mama home for the Ash Wednesday weekend, but when the time came for her to return, Miss Mama despaired and protested. Knowing what she was returning to, Roxann and her family decided to keep Miss Mama, despite not having enough space in her already cramped house.

Situation

Small, who used to travel regularly to see Miss Mama, has removed her unflattering plyboard house in Princessfield and has attached it to her unfinished concrete structure in Knollis, St Catherine, and that's where Miss Mama is now living. The situation is far from palatial, but it is much better than the decadence in which Miss Mama used to exist.

It's not easy for Small to provide for Miss Mama, as she has her own family to take care of on a measly basic school salary. "Trust mi, it hard on mi," she said, yet she has no problem with Miss Mama, who can talk a lot when she is ready, and who said she found Roxann's children amusing. "One hundred times better!" Miss Mama responded in her usual strong voice when asked about her new home. "Is only a pain in mi back. Mi want to go to the doctor."

And to the doctor she will go, Paulette Dowe is making sure.