Georgia Blackburn is featured as the notable West Indian for September 2016. Georgia, a nurse by profession, is strong in her faith with a generosity of spirit. This is Georgia’s story.

I was born in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and attended St. Hilda’s Diocesan High School, Brown’s Town. I then lived and worked in Kingston for two years after leaving school while I pondered my future. No one in my family had gone to Secondary school before I came along so to them I was set to make a big difference to the lives of all that followed me. I didn’t know at the time that there were things that I couldn’t do – such was the expectation placed on me.

I travelled to England to do nursing as a way of making a step on the ladder of my professional development. I met and later married my Australian while I was training to be a nurse. I was absolutely amazed that young people enjoyed such freedom and support – to travel and explore the world without responsibility!

We came to Australia in 1979 and lived in The Sutherland Shire for some time with my in-laws. Making the adjustment to life in Australia, working and raising 3 children took up the next 20 or so years. We ran a nursing home business together, all of which took its toll on our relationship in the end.

My children are now grown up and I have continued with my career in nursing. Not always with enthusiasm, as I now know that I am at heart a creative free spirited person who loves reading and creative writing.

Growing in faith as a Christian, I have tried to change the priorities in my life over the years.

One of the most significant things that happened in my life in recent years is a trip I made with a group of people from church to Bangladesh. Amazingly enough, this trip sharpened my awareness of being a Jamaican. The visit to Bangladesh made me think of how Jamaica might have been some 100 or so years ago. I was impressed with the gentleness of the people in the face of hardships and poverty.

I realised that as Jamaicans we have a certain resilience to change and to advance ourselves and our own, rather than passively accepting things as they are. This observation made me more aware of how a peoples’ history and culture can shape them. Now I am quite settled with travelling but with an awareness of understanding people in the context of cultural differences.

I have 3 grandchildren and still travel back to Jamaica to see and care for my mother and other family members there. I am quite interested in understanding more about the birth and growth of Rastafarianism as a philosophy that has been embraced by my own people. Watch this space!!!