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Remembering Anita

During my doctoral studies, I conducted a qualitative research study in Jamaica, West Indies that provided the conceptual framework for my dissertation. The purpose of my study was to explore the role of narrative in the intergenerational transmission of life learning for Jamaican females in a culural sharing group, specifically basket makers. Narrative inquiry served as the research method I used to acquire knowledge about narrative in tacit learning systems, the transmission of life experience, and the meaning of intergenerational relationships for Jamaican females. I chose basket weaving as the focal point for intergenerational transmission of informal learning. I interviewed eight Jamaican basket makers age 18-69 years old. One of the study participants was Anita (her pseudonym). Over the next few years, Anita became one of my most important study participants. Please read "The Coming and Going of Life", which is a brief tribute to Anita.

The Coming and Going of Life

I met Anita in 2008, a 36-year-old unmarried mother who provided economic and moral support for her two daughters (the youngest daughter has a brain tumor), granddaughter and aging mother.

During my research, I was not aware that Anita was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998.

Anita never complained about her illness. Instead, Anita relentlessly continued to weave baskets, an activity she loved doing since childhood. Only now, Anita must weave baskets so she would have money to pay for chemo treatments, doctor visits and to provide

for her family.

Over time, sitting to make baskets became difficult for Anita, yet it was her only means of income. In my time of quite

reflection, I often thought of Anita and the challenges she endured. 

My last interview with Anita is when I noticed her manner was different. Anita had a quite resolve that only she and God knew and understood. 

When I asked Anita about weaving baskets, in her tranquil state she said, "I keep going until God says it's time to leave". God said it was time to leave when Anita made her final basket and final transition in 2012. In her vacant

space, Anita left behind baskets filled with rich and endearing stories weaved together by her unwavering faith in God, love for Jamaica and devotion to family.

As I hold in hand the first and only basket Anita weaved for me, I feel tremendous gratitude that Anita entrusted me with her story. This is a story that I hope to share with those interested in learning more about the value of story. An undeniable value that continues to nurture and sustain indigenous cultures, and generations of women inside and outside Jamaica.

My life is richer because Anita lived!

Dr. Binta Masani

In the United States, October is officially Breast Cancer Awarebness Month! At Masani Consulting, LLC, we believe breast cancer awareness should be promoted everyday! Please join Masani Consulting, LLC in supporting breast cancer prevention, research and a cure! Click on the links below to find out how you can help "Fight Breast Cancer".

Jamaican Cancer Society

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