Fitting honour for ‘Big Mama’
“Concern more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own”(Oxford Dictionary)
Often in life we are blessed to have people in our society who are committed to spending their entire lives helping others. You know, those people who go out of their way to ensure that their immediate family, their neighbours, their community and their country are their daily priority. More often than not, they sacrifice their own personal happiness in order that others may have what they need.
In each of our neighbourhoods and parishes, we can quickly identify someone who fits those characteristics. Whether it be the strong paternal figure that everyone calls “Uncle So and So” or the maternal figure who is seen as the “Big Mama” of the community, these are the persons who mould our societies with firm but loving hands and hearts.
It could be the “Uncle” that teaches younger men different skill sets or the Big Mama that guides young ladies to be not only self-reliant but willing to nurture other young women. In retrospect, it could be any combination of things, as these persons are themselves multitalented and dish out their love to all genders without looking for fanfare, recognition or reward.
Some names are synonymous with certain parts of our island. For example, if one had the surname Foggo, then odds are your family are from St George’s. Well, maybe with a dash of St David’s as well.
Likewise, the surname Tweed is wedded to the central parish of Devonshire. The Tweed clan, like many others in Pembroke and Devonshire, had their origins in St Kitts. Out of this family came such persons as the Reverend Kingsley Tweed, the Reverend Nicholas Tweed, Colour Sergeant Cedric Tweed, and a couple of good footballers here and there.
One particular pillar of that family was Bonnie-Jean Thelma Marie Tweed, a lifelong resident of Devonshire, who spent four decades helping hundreds of Bermudian families find homes via the Bermuda Housing Corporation. Without a doubt, she would have known the vast majority of the 700 Bermudian families for whom the BHC provides affordable housing.
This was because she was one of those who was always first to arrive at work and last to leave the office. Frequently spending much of her day trying to find ways to assist not only her clients but also other staff members, who were essentially her “family”. That she was the longest-serving employee would have made her the “Big Mama” of the BHC.
Surely, God saw how hard she worked to help others and decided to call her home in 2021 to assist Him.
Last month, the BHC unveiled newly refurbished units at the former Harmony Club property. On the upper level, there are three units and on the ground level there are two. The project manager was Blake Lambert, who oversaw excellent workmanship by Rise and Shine Construction.
The moment was one of great pride and emotion as persons inclusive of friends, family and BHC workers watched the unveiling of the Bonnie-Jean Tweed House. A fitting tribute to a queen of Devonshire who set the gold standard of caring for others that BHC staff live by.
Most importantly, for the rest of Bermuda, her works help us to better understand the true meaning of the term “selflessness”.
• Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at email@example.com