Two Aurora centenarians, tillers of the soil, pass on

Ramjohn Mohamed Khan speaking to a gathering at his 100th birthday celebration.

Two highly respected individuals from the community of Aurora, a small village on the Essequibo coast in Region Two recently passed way at the ages of 105 years and 107 years, respectively.

The two men, Ramjohn Mohamed Khan, known in the community as Uncle Johno, and Gladstone Augustus Mack, called Brother Mack or Uncle Mackie were tillers of the soil; Khan, a rice farmer and Mack, a ground provision farmer.

Khan passed away on April 25th 2018 at the age of 105, after falling ill due to his old age.

The centenarian was the father to 14 children, whom he worked tirelessly to provide for. In his early life he attended the Aurora Church of Scotland School, and later the Kitty Christ Church School.

He began farming at the tender age of 12 at Plantation Sophia, fertilizing sugar cane. He left school at an early age to help take care of his step mother and younger siblings. Later on, in his early twenties he purchased an acre and a half of rice land which he farmed for almost about 70 years.

Uncle Johno, a staunch Muslim, was very dedicated to his religion and read the Quran every day. He became a deputy Imam of the Aurora Masjid in 1947, and was also a founding member of the Aurora Coop Society.

During a visit by Stabroek News to Aurora,  his son Farukh Khan said that his father was a God fearing individual, “Once you’re God fearing you will try to live under the rules of the religion and that covers everything”. He can remember his father saying to him, “work hard, eat the right foods and have your full night’s rest, that way the next morning you’re strong and rejuvenated to go and work again. Another thing he would always tell us, when things good with you pray to God and thank God, and when things bad with you also pray to God, but ask him to make things better. He was a very caring father, although he had ten children in the home at one time, we never slept on the floor and we never went hungry.”

Uncle Johno was very active in his old age, doing yard work, planting and cleaning the drains up until he was about 103 years old. His memory was great onto his old age, which he attributed to his reading of the Quran every day.

In 1986, he was awarded a Medal of Service for long service with exceptional dedication as a community, social and religious worker.

Brother Mack was a well-known ground provision farmer, who died just about a month after Khan, at the age of 107 years. The man was a farmer for almost 70 years. Though he did not complete his secondary education he was very intelligent and well respected.

Mack was the father of ten children. One of his sons, Jerry Mack, told Stabroek News of the many lessons he learnt from his father, the most important of which was love. According to Jerry, the man was well respected in the tight knit community and in the Methodist Church where he preached occasionally.  Mack was a very religious person who read his Bible daily. Jerry described his father as a man of very good conduct, friendly and loving. Jerry added that his father worked very hard and made sure he provided the bare necessities for his children and that they were all educated.

As he aged, he too still kept active. Before he passed away, his granddaughter, Odette Mack stated that his memory was still good as he would still tell stories to his children and grandchildren whom he had helped to take care of. “Even when he got sick, he would still tell us stories and the things he did in the past.”

He passed away just about a month after Khan, at the age of 107 years of natural causes.

Both men will be remembered for their extraordinary works in the community and for the example of love and togetherness they showed to the younger generation.

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