Motherhood made me more responsible – young Mabaruma mother

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Earlene Rouse with her partner and their son who is now six years old

By Alva Solomon

Months after giving birth to her first child, young Earlene Rouse got a call that she was accepted into the teaching profession and that she would start her career at Morawhanna, a community located many miles away from her home at the town of Mabaruma in the North West District.

Being a teenage momAt the time, she said it was a tough challenge to face but according to the young lady, since she had given birth a few months prior to relocating from her hometown, she had to adjust to life away from home, more so away from her one-year-old son. Morawhanna sits along the right bank of the Barima River; it is accessible by boat but persons still walk between the two locations via an old road which connects the two communities.

Rouse said many times, she would journey along that road late on Friday afternoons in order to get home to be with her family, mainly her young baby boy. She said it is this spirit of determination which continues to drive her towards becoming a better person.
She said becoming a mother has made her responsible and stronger as a woman.

“It made me realise that strength, courage and love are no longer just words but emotions that build me stronger into a mature woman,” Rouse said.

Rouse, who attended the North West Secondary School, said she became pregnant at 19, and at the time she was contemplating her next move in terms of a career.

She said initially, her parents were not too pleased with the situation since they wanted her to enhance her academic ability. She noted, however, that despite being young, she managed to stay focussed.

“I still have confidence in myself,” she admitted.

The year was 2016. Rouse received news that she was given an opportunity to become a teacher. She said that when the time came to move to Morawhanna, she felt a mixed sense of sadness, excitement and wonder since she did not know what to expect once she relocated. But she noted that she received valuable support from her family and her partner and with her mindset on her future, she took up residence in the remote riverine community.

Earlene Rouse stands outside the St Peter Primary School at Morawhanna

She said teaching is a profession that she always wanted to be a part of and according to her, many of her older relatives are educators.

“So I chose to join the field of education to share my knowledge and get the children ready for life,” she added.

She said too that she would admire her cousins and siblings who took education seriously and enhanced themselves academically.

Rouse noted that she is currently pursuing studies offered by the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) online to become a fully trained teacher and she noted that while it is challenging, she is determined to complete the training successfully. She said that being a remote community, the internet connection at Morawhanna is not very reliable.

But she noted that one way she adapts to the situation is by travelling home to Mabaruma each weekend. She said this has been her routine ever since she started in the profession and she noted that she has dedicated much of her time and energy to ensure the children of Morawhanna receive her undying love for education.

As regards women who became mothers in their teenage years, Rouse had some healthy advice.

“Do not give up, no matter what. Fight for what you want to become and seek advice always when unsure,” the young mother noted.