Mango Time マンゴータイム

チェリーズ・(ハウエル)・イゲ氏 ガーナにて

Mountain View community of East Kingston キングストン マウンテンビュー

Blackie and Eastie

This is the third instalment in our “Food I Fondly Remember” interview series which is aimed at introducing Japanese to soul foods of Jamaica which many Japanese have never experienced but are really worth trying.

Meet Cherise (Howell) Ige a “Solid as a Rock” odds defying Jamaican woman who sees challenges as truly character strengthening. Cherise is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of one of the world’s largest insurance and financial services multi-national corporations (MNC). She is now based in Ghana. Cherise – the epitome of positivity and a genuine people’s person – was born and bred in the Mountain View community of East Kingston located about 5 miles (8 km) east of downtown Kingston and about 6 miles north of the Norman Manley International Airport. As a child growing up in East Kingston, Cherise’s parents always knew she was destined for great things and were very supportive of her and her siblings strive towards excellence.

Despite her parents attempts to ensure Cherise and her siblings were never in want, life was not always very kind to Cherise. In my interview with her, she recounts the very first time she had an epiphany moment. Growing up, she had the darkest complexion among all members of her family. She never knew this was a problem. But one day, at the very tender and impressionable age of five (5), she was singled out by her teacher for talking in class with her then best friend who happened to have been of a very light skin colour. When she enquired why her friend was not beaten, her teacher told her that her friend was very delicate and precious. This scare has remained with Cherise even to this very day.

Fast forward to her high school experience. Once again Cherise was made to feel badly out of place and unwelcomed. Cherise was a naturally brilliant scholar growing up. This resulted in her skipping grades in primary school always making her the youngest and smartest in her class. She sat the then Jamaican high school placement exam called the “Common Entrance Examinations” on her very first sitting. To the surprise of many, she had done so well, that she was awarded a place at Jamaica’s most prestigious co-educational high school located about 2 miles (3.2 km) northwest of her home. For her and her family, this was truly a dream come true.

That dream soon turned into a nightmare that would never go away. Not only was she ostracized by her fairer complexion school mates, but she was constantly reminded by her Grade 7 math teacher that she did not belong in the class because she was neither from a good enough neighbourhood nor was she white enough.

Her Grade 7 math teacher gave them a pop test. To the teacher’s surprise Cherise scored 94% on the test. The teacher then downgraded her score to 47% to destroy her confidence. This reality shock was like a 9.5 magnitude earthquake and 1815 Tambora, Indonesia volcano combined for a very young 10 year old high school student. The shock was as earth shattering as it was seismic. It was like all the subjunctive plates in the Pacific Rim of Fire had crashed into each other all at once. This led to Cherise’s losing the will to excel. The writing was on the wall. The teacher had done her damage.

Cherise also recounts an experience in grade 9. Her dad had given her the money to pay her tuition, but she forgot to pay it. This was the first and only time ever – her tuition payment was missed. Her father had always paid her tuition on time. This time he was unable to take time off from work to pay it as he had always done. She was called into the principal’s office along with one of her light skin friends. Her friend was told to go back to class because the principal feared upsetting both her and her parents. Cherise was about to hand the tuition payments which she had in her pocket to the principal, but before she got the chance to, he started to make assumptions that her father was struggling to keep her in the high school. The principal thought her father could not afford her high school education, although her father had always paid her fees on time. She used the money to procure chocolate which she sold to her fellow students at a profit. After making a substantial profit, she then paid up her school fee. This was her first foray into finance and entrepreneurship.

Her high school teachers and principal all thought Cherise would not make it in life because of her skin tone and home address. She was destined to fail… or was she?







彼女の高校の先生や校長は皆、彼女の肌の色と出身エリアのせいで チェリーズは人生で成功できないと思っていました。彼女は失敗する運命でした…それとも?


Facebook Comments