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Not so many are willing to welcome people into their home, feed them and provide financial support for years without any strings attached. However, Miss Lola Christian has been doing that for a long time.
75-year-old retired lecturer Miss Lola Christian would not have accomplished her goal of becoming a teacher without God and the good Samaritans he sent in to her life. As such, she feels obligated to provide help to others when necessary. “It is just a part of me, I have been helped by others and now it is my time to give help whenever and wherever I can”.
The persons she helps are mostly students who need a place to stay but cannot afford it. “They come in, become part of my family and do things like how they would do at home, all without paying any money”. Under her care students have graduated and others have received help in one way or another.
Lola dedicated a combined 25 years of her life teaching at the West indies College Prep school and later the Northern Caribbean University. Born and raised in Beckford Kraal in Clarendon, she grew up in a big and loving family of 11 siblings which she describes as “financially poor but spiritually rich”. Her father Hezekiah Christian was a farmer but only farmed to feed his family while her mother Murdina Christian was a housewife. She grew up with a strong desire for the teaching profession. “I had an aunt who was studying to be a teacher and I was told that when I was a child and saw her coming back from school, I would rush to her, hold her bag and say I want to be a teacher just like you”. Needless to say, Lola was keen on pursuing that dream.
Lola’s zeal of becoming a teacher was strong however she didn’t have the funds to attend College. As such, a 22-year-old Lola started working as a pre- trained teacher in a Government Primary School, a job she held for 6 years. The money raised would fund her education at the then West Indies College now known as Northern Caribbean University. Well, at least that’s what she thought.
The journey to become a teacher was not smooth sailing. The money she worked 6 years to raise was not enough. It could only cover 1 year of her Primary Teacher Education degree at the then West Indies College. “It wasn’t a lot of money. I saved but I also had to support my parents financially”. Plagued by ill health too, Lola was continuously discouraged by family members to give up on becoming a teacher. “They used to tell me that I would not make it in the teaching profession because it would take a toil on my health, but I wasn’t prepared to give up so easily. So, I prayed to the lord one night and told him if he wanted me to be teacher, he should reveal it to me in a dream that same night, and he did.” The clear sign that Lola got from the Lord himself was enough to fuel her desire on moving forward with her goal, she wasn’t planning to look back.
She refused to be discouraged despite not having money to continue her remaining years at college. “I remember laying on my bed at the Jamaica Hall dormitory. I prayed to God and said Lord you can’t let me be ashamed. You can’t let me go back home yet.”
God was with Lola because he came through for her in the most unimaginable way. A family in Mandeville heard about her plight and decided to take her in to their home. As a result, the only financial obligation she had was her tuition, books and general fees. “Most of the time my transportation fee was provided by my new parents and university workers who lived close by”.
If you think God has done enough for Lola, then wait for what he does next. He provided two scholarships for her out of nowhere. “One afternoon I was summoned and told a gentleman was looking for me on campus, I went and saw a car parked in front of the President’s office. He told me to come into the car and I did. He then said they heard I was having financial difficulties and if I will accept it they are willing to give me a scholarship to pay my tuition including books and pocket money every month for the remaining years I had left.”. Turns out the man worked for the East Jamaica Conference, they heard about Lola’s ordeal through a teacher who informed them of her situation and asked them to help.
Days later, she was at choir practice when she was informed that the President of the university wanted to see her. “I knew I did not do anything wrong, so I wasn’t fazed. When I went, he told me the administration had met during the summer and decided to give me a 1-year scholarship. I said thank you sir, but I am okay now”
Due to how Lola has been helped in her life, she could never turn her back on those who are in need. “I carried lunch to a student every day for two years. I didn’t know because I wasn’t keeping track of it. She had relocated to Canada after graduation. When I went over there to visit relatives she introduced me to her husband, he said, you are the person who fed Marcia for two years. It was then that I realised how much it meant to her”.
Lola has been through a lot in life and gives God thanks for helping her pull through. “I have been through a lot of sickness where doctors couldn’t help, but He helped. In 1985 I had eight inches of my intestines removed. My intestines where decaying inside me and had to be removed. I found out that I could have died in 24hours, but God kept me for over 34 years now. I have to love Him”.
Retired since 2008, she enjoys planting flowers around her home, tending to her garden, going to church on Saturdays and of course helping persons in need.
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