RECENTLY, two men who all the people that know them would agree that they were role models, not only the people from Aurora but for the entire country. Ramjohn Mohamed Khan called Uncle Johono or Johano Majey and Gladstone Augustus Mack, familiarly called Brother Mack and Uncle Mackie, died about a month of each other with Uncle Johono being the first to be called home.
Uncle Johono lived for 105 years, and Uncle Mackie for 107 years. They were both farmers, devoted husbands and fathers, had the same number of children, 10, were community-minded, worked very hard to educate their children, and similar earning habits and religious convictions were very strong.
Aurora Village, a village on the Essequibo Coast, has traditionally been and will always be agriculture-based, including rice cultivation and ground provision also greens, and other vegetables. Uncle Johona was a rice farmer, my father and him were very good friends, their rice farms were close, so as a lad in company with my father, we would walk to and from our home with Uncle Johona, and would also visit each other’s watch- house. Those were the days when the farmer ploughed the land with his bull, planted the rice, cut it by hand, fetch with bull and slide, mash it, wind it, bag it, fetch it again then sell it; the entire process was manual. Now the entire process can be mechanical. Uncle Johono was also during all those days a member of the Church Committee, and later became the Imam of the Aurora Masjid.
As for Uncle Mackie or Brother Mack, he was a ground provision farmer whose farm land was about eight miles away from his home and the only means of transportation was by boat, and before he bought a seagull engine he would sail or paddle his boat with his produce to the marketplace. My father and Uncle Mackie were good friends too, and their farmlands were next to each other, so as a boy I was fortunate to spend a lot of time in his company. When I became a farmer decades later, I got a lot of advice from him as it relates to farming. He was always a member of the farming group and strongly believed that together we aspire, together we would achieve. He was tireless in his advocating for better prices for farmers’ produce, yet he found the time to be at church every Sunday and in the absence of the priest would conduct services at the Methodist Church in the village.
Aurora, a place to know, has produced a lot of academics, doctors, lawyers, head masters and head mistresses, entrepreneurs, etc.; but when any discussion takes place, Uncle Johona and Uncle Mackie’s names have to be mentioned. It is interesting to note that they were other persons in the village who live close to the century landmark. The two men are at the top for many, many reasons.
The number of people from all walks of life and races and religion who attended their funeral and paid tributes, expressed condolences and sympathy to their children and other relatives was a testimony to the exemplary lives both of these men had lived and may their souls rest in peace.
Archie W. Cordis
Resident of Aurora