The story of my Mami’s life and the impact that she had on so many. Growing up I always knew that my Mother (#Mami) was a very special soul. She had unique qualities that were exemplified in the ways that she met and kept people around her. She had a way of making everyone feel special. Mami was the most beautiful soul that I ever met. Mami never compared us, she always encouraged and taught us how to survive in this world. I never really understood the impact Mami had in this world until she died on March 30th, 2017. I knew she was special, but after that dreadful day, I was filled with joy and comfort to hear the things that people who knew Mami well and those who barely knew her, were saying about her. Meaning that it did not take long for Mami to plant her seeds of wisdom and joy in the hearts of people that she met along her journey of life on this earth.
Chapter 1: Born on 3rd of November in Panama
ON NOVEMBER 3RD, 1903 with the support of the U.S. government, Panama issued a declaration of independence from Colombia. In 1903, the Hay-Herrán Treaty was signed with Colombia, granting the United States use of the Isthmus of Panama in exchange for financial compensation. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty under leadership of President Theodore Roosevelt who gave the approval to the rebellion by Panamanian nationalists, which began on November 3, 1903. This was the beginning of sovereignty for the now Republic of Panama. From this day forth the 3rd of November is celebrated by Panamanians as one of the biggest holidays in the country. The day begins with the sounding of the “Dianas” by the Panamanian Firemen Force. I can still remember hearing them as I grew up and it still gives me goosebumps to hear them play so loud and proudly on that morning year after year.
Being born in Panama on the 3rd of November is like being born in the United States on the 4th of July. It is a celebration whether you want to have one or not. My Mother was born Jean Arial Alleyne on November 3rd, 1935 in Panama City, Panama to parents Castell Alleyne (GrandDaddy) and Mildred Alleyne (Abuela). Both parents were descendants of immigrants from the West Indies, who came to Panama for the building of the Canal. My GrandDaddy, worked for the Panama Canal Commission until he retired. My grandmother Mildred was a housewife. Overall, they did fairly well for themselves and provided for their children. My Mother was the third of six. She had a big brother, Tio Joe and four sisters, two of whom died. Ruth died from an illness and was born between Tio Joe and Mami and Abigail was stillborn between Mami and Tia Lois. My aunts Lois and Brenda were her younger siblings and she cared for them, like a mother. She was 10 years older than Lois and 13 years older than Brenda, also known as “Baby Doll”.
Angelica “Angie” Ford was born and raised in Panama City, Panama in 1966. She moved to the United States to go to college in 1985 on a basketball scholarship. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans in December, 1988. She then went on to get her Master’s degree in Computer Science at Howard University in Washington, DC in 1990. In 1996, she was nominated for the “Black Engineer of the Year Award” sponsored by Council of Engineering Deans of HBCU, Mobil Corporation and U.S. Black Engineer Magazine. That same year she was featured in the Black Collegian Magazine, as an outstanding engineer in the field of telecommunications. Angie is also a member of Zeta Phi Rho chapter Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society from Xavier University.
Angie is currently the Director of PMO/Operations for Latin America at iconectiv. She has been working in software development for the telecommunications industry since she left college in 1988. She has worked and lived abroad in Argentina, Chile, India, Mexico, Peru and Thailand. She is a member of the prestigious Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the founder of DOWAP (Dining Out With A Purpose). She has dedicated her personal life to giving back to her community and helping others. Angie enjoys traveling and seeing the world. Among other of her hobbies is cycling, hiking, photography and writing. She took up writing a few years ago after taking several life changing trips and work assignments abroad as an expat. In order to describe her photographs, she decided to tell short stories about her travel experiences. This evolved into a love for expressing herself through words and was the seed for writing this book about her beautiful Mami. Angie hopes that by sharing her experience of her relationship with Mami she will help anyone to forge strong bonds not only with their Mother, but with anyone they have an opportunity to spend significant time with.
Get to know Angie:
- How did you write the book so fast?I was in shock and in my feelings. Losing Mami so suddenly made me realize that life is short and we should leave for tomorrow what we can do today. The idea of writing the book came from others that admired our relationship with Mami and encourage me to do this project.
- How was the experience of self-publishing?It was actually easier than I thought it would be. I like having complete control over the decision making process of my project. I would recommend it to anyone and will share whatever I have learned in the process.
- Do you think Mami was an Angel?Absolutely! I know she went straight to heaven. She lived her life in preparation for her death. She paid it forward and just lived right. She held no grudges and was ready. She served us well.
- What is it like to have so many Godchildren?I learned from the best. Mami had 7 godchildren and I have 8. It is an amazing feeling to know that others entrust you with the life and well-being of their children, in the event that something happens to them. It is a big responsibility and you should consider it seriously before accepting the request. I keep in touch with all of my godchildren and keep up with them and their education, just like Mami did with her godchildren.
- Why did you decide to write the book about Mami?I did to share her story, because I think it is unusual. Mother/daughter relationships can be hard and my sisters and I had a perfect relationship with Mami. It was all due to who Mami was. She was the glue that kept so many lives together. She shared so many lessons that I think needed to be passed on and told. She made everyone feel special and unique. I could not keep this information to myself. I also wanted my nephews to get to know her story and know her as an adolescent. They only experienced her as “Grandma Jeannie”.
- What was the biggest lesson learned from Mami?I learned that I need to be more empathetic and a better listener, like she was. I learned that I need to create balance in my life and not worry about tomorrow. I learned to always put God first and let the rest fall into place.
- How was is writing about Mami so soon after her death?It was actually healing and therapeutic. It allowed me to recall some great memories that made smile and also cry while writing. I could feel her spirit guiding me and reminding of things that I had not thought of in many years. I would recommend writing/journaling about a loss of a loved one to anyone. This was the best thing I could have done for myself. I took my pain and converted it into an amazing project that I can now share with others.
Find the author and the book:
Amazon (Paperback/Hard cover/Kindle): https://www.amazon.com/Mami-Experience-Motherhood-Sisterhood-Daughterhood/dp/0999365002/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1509202339&sr=1-1&keywords=angie+ford
Apple Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/mami/id1301882115?mt=11
Barnes & Nobles: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mami-angie-ford/1127294826?ean=9780999365021