, Newburyport, MA

May 21, 2013

Sunshine in a package

As I See It
Sara-Anne Eames

---- — Whenever I meet new acquaintances who have piqued my interest, I want to share the experience.

During my stay for surgery rehab in February at Brigham Manor, Martha was the CNA on my first night there who helped me prepare for bedtime. Her work ethic, her wonderful manner of dress and her personality brightened my evening. When I told her how nice she looked, she grinned and said it made her feel good as well as “lifting the patient’s spirits.”

In January 2009 Martha and her husband came to the U.S. from Nairobi, Kenya, after she and her family were chosen in a lottery consisting of 40 different tribes to come here to live. Her niece, from Newburyport, hosted them and in March 2009 their three children followed. They had stayed in Africa with Martha’s family until their parents were well-settled in Newburyport and had found employment.

Melena, 19, is at Bentley College; Ronnie, 14, enters high school this September and Lynn, 11, attends Rupert Nock Middle School. Melena was awarded “Excellence in Education” on Sept. 16, 2012 at a banquet sponsored by the Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank held at the Hungry Traveler in Salisbury. She also later won the Best Delegation Award, a top honor, with nine young people from Newburyport. They belonged to the Newburyport High School UN Club (an event that 27 different high schools had competed in) at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. It took one month for these young people to prepare for their roles for an International Court reenactment.

Ronnie, a basketball player at Rupert Nock, made a jump shot against Hamilton-Wenham at the Nock Middle School. They won the game, I believe, by one point! Back in September 2012, as a Clipper receiver, he went up for a high pass during a NYFL game with North Andover. I believe that pictures of these two events were in The Daily News on March 6, 2012 and Sept. 18, 2012. On Nov. 22, 2010 another picture appeared of Ronnie as a forward going high for a rebound in basketball with the Pentucket players.

Lynn, when she was in the fourth grade, had her picture taken with a few students from Molin Upper Elementary School at the Courtyard Pond, feeding fish, frogs and turtles. In 2012 she won the Peace Award from the Newburyport Committee for Diversity and Tolerance. This appeared May 24, 2012 in The Daily News.

Martha, the proud mom, glows when she talks about her children. I asked her how they have adapted to living here and what questions they asked her when they first arrived in the U.S. One question, “How come Americans eat cold cuts?” The food culture here is very different. They weren’t used to our prepared foods. They also referred to the “white rain” and discovered snow!

Jared, Martha’s husband, works for Turning Point. Martha originally started in housekeeping but was moved to the position of CNA when her abilities were recognized as to how well she worked with the patients and her special talent in giving good care. Every night that she worked she would stop by to say hello to my roommate and me. After that I saw her lugging heavy bags of laundry as she readied her patients for bed and escorted other patients to their rooms. She talked to each one while she worked and I noticed smiles and conversation from patients as if they felt they were the most important people in the world. Martha has a knack for many other talents as a choir member and kindergarten teacher for her church.

It is so wonderful to see this family come to America and contribute their assets to the community. Martha was a pleasure to know during my 36 days of rehab and I will never forget her.

After the Patriots Day incident I really felt blessed to know about this lovely family who had come to this country to work hard to achieve the “American Dream” and have come to fully realize it.


Sara-Ann Eames lives in Newburyport.