Recently, two men who all the people who knew them would agree were role models, not only for the people from Aurora but for the entire country passed away. Ramjohn Mohamed Khan called Uncle Johono or Johano Majey and Gladstone Augustus Mack, familiarly called Brother Mack and Uncle Mackie, died about a month apart, with Uncle Johono being the first to be called home.
Uncle Johono lived for one hundred and five years, and Uncle Mackie for one hundred and seven years. They were both farmers, devoted husbands and fathers, had the same amount of children, ten, were community minded, worked very hard to educate their children and had similar earning habits. Their religious convictions were very strong.
Aurora Village, a village on the Essequibo Coast, has traditionally and will always be agriculture based: rice cultivation and ground provisions, 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. Those were the days when the farmer ploughed the land with his bull, planted the rice, cut it by hand, fetched with bull and slide, mashed it, winded it, bagged it, fetched it again then sold 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 market place. My father and Uncle Mackie were good friends too, and their farm lands 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 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’s and Uncle Mackie’s names have to be mentioned. It is interesting to note that there were other persons in the village that lived close to the century landmark. The two men are at the top for many, many reasons.
The amount of people from all walks of life and races and religions who attended their funeral and paid tributes, expressed condolences and sympathy to their children and other relatives were 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