AS the elder of the Shekinah Church of Old England Village, Ruby Bakker is a mentor, a friend and a leader in the community, who is respected and looked upon to make important decisions.
As a retired school teacher, she is well-known and well-liked as well, and at age 72, she still has the drive and energy of a teenager.
Bakker told the Pepperpot Magazine that she used to reside in Coomacka and after marriage she moved to Old England.
“When I first came here it was in 1976 and it was heavily forested and it only had two houses, and back then we moved around with the train; the bauxite company had the ‘Pullman’ train that used to assist the locals in transportation as a way of giving back to the village,” she said.
She reported that the only mode of transportation was by train and today some of the tracks are still there; pieces and remnants of the past still linger in the village, reminding the people of the once thriving bauxite industry.
Bakker said when she moved there it was difficult to get around and they depended on the “Pullman’ to get to the main road, as passengers and the bauxite operations were at Three Friends, farther away from Old England.
The mother of six related that her role in the church is to try giving the youths the foundation of the changing times, where morals are erased and they have in-church programmes to motivate them.
Bakker added that there are only two sides to life, the right and the wrong sides and they give a biblical perspective of life and what it is supposed to be as a Christian.
“We at the church have a campfire and other social events to bring people together and we also have community guest days, where we try to strengthen the values [and] morals of our members,” she said.
In Old England Village, Bakker is the ‘go-to’ person and the villagers would ask her advice and she would assist them in many ways whenever they need someone to talk to.
The retired teacher taught at many schools from 1964 to 2004 and she stopped teaching three years ago after spending years at a private school.
She wanted to help people and that motivated her to open her own private school at her home.
And these days she is minding a grandchild, her daughter’s new-born and would spend a lot of time in Blueberry Hill and visit Old England on weekends to attend to church business and community work.
The Old England Health Post
The Old England Health Post sits on a hill in Old England Village and it is a small building that is well-kept and clean and serves a lot of people in the village and many who pass through.
The Health Post is managed by a very friendly and pleasant Community Health Worker, Zeraldine Fraser and four other staffers.
They provide primary healthcare in the form of out-patient services, ante and postnatal, family planning, childhood clinic, chronic diseases clinic and home-visits.
“We assist people who come here in any way possible, that is, medically and if we can provide medical assistance we do not hesitate and the more serious cases we refer them to Linden Hospital Complex and we do not turn away anyone, people come for help and we do just that,” she said.
Fraser stated that on a daily basis more than 50 persons would visit to seek medical intervention for varying illnesses and people would visit from as far as Rockstone and other outlying areas, because of the services they provide and their cooperative and friendly demeanour.
“We don’t have any problems and we have good relations with the community and people come here because they feel comfortable and we don’t turn away people at all,” she said.
Fraser added that they treat patients just as how they would like to be treated when visiting a health facility, and they do not display any rude or disrespectful behaviour to people and realise that[they] have to work together to bring relief to people, who are suffering from illnesses.
Their catchment area is Old England, Nottinghamshire, Sibernia, but when people visit from outlying villages, they do not send them away but assist.
The facility has a vaccine room, a staff kitchen, a doctor’s interview room and a waiting area with washroom facilities.
They have a visiting doctor and all cases they cannot handle are referred to Linden, which isn’t very far away.
Fraser is assisted by a very capable Nurse Chrisann Lorrimer, another Community Health Worker and a Clinic Attendant.