Dr. Arna J. Brown Morgan
It was 30 years ago, give or take a year or two, and I was a young newly minted Family Physician, when I received an unexpected call from Dr. Molly Thorborne.
Dr. Thorborne told me that she was working on a project with some doctors whom she would train to work in various communities with her at 3D Projects.
Professor Robert Grey had recommended me to her as a suitable candidate. I had not long completed my elective in Family Medicine where I worked with the Department of Psychiatry and with Prof Grey for several months which included working with and testing children with both physical and mental illnesses. I was pleased to accept and get on board with the training program. And that’s how my decades’ sojourn with 3D Projects/CBRJ began!
Over the many years I’ve worked at 3D Projects, now rebranded Community Based Rehabilitation Jamaica (CBRJ) with a dedicated staff of committed individuals, many who were trained by Dr. Thorborurne and who now train new staff. I’ve seen their dedication to our young and challenged patients and their parents, a determination to continue to achieve goals and to serve various communities across Jamaica no matter the obstacles!
I’ve worked with Prof. Thorbourne, Ms. Gerline Bean and more recently with Mrs. Long-White and Dr. Stephanie McFarlane. I’ve also worked with the onsite clinic staff headed by Mrs. Dorothy Daniels for most of that time. I’ve had an absolutely splendid relationship with everyone! It’s been one of the very best experiences of my life.
I’ve watched children with great handicaps grow up to be happy and even productive persons. I’ve shared the parental joy at such times. I have seen an exceptional young female with severe Coreo-Athetosis pass 6 CXC’s. Same with a young man with Cerebral Palsy, wheelchair bound, with very poor neck control who passed 7 CXC’s. Both of them were fully empowered to continue their studies. And I’ve seen our youngsters grow up supported by their parents and the staff of CBRJ. This organisation fights for every child to become his or her” best person” despite the many social, and financial and even educational barriers which are encountered and despite the severity of the disability.
In more recent years, I’ve worked in CBRJ clinics in St. Elizabeth, and in Mandeville. It meant getting up extra early to be ready for a 5:30am pick-up by Patrick in the CBRJ minibus. Leaving out for the countryside, and watching Jamaica come awake has been a beautiful experience. Working with the country staff, learning of their problems, meeting the parents and seeing how the staff encourages depressed and apathetic parents and care givers has been a powerful lesson in the ability of determined human beings to succeed at their goals!
Standing on the roadside with Mrs Daniels and nursing students while watching Patrick repair a burst water hose on the way back into Kingston from a most successful clinic in St Elizabeth is just another memory which brings a smile to my face.
I remember the tears when CBRJ honoured me as the person who they thought had done a lot for the disabled at the inaugural dinner hosted by the Canadian Ambassador some years ago. Me? Sitting beside Father Ramkisoon? Wherever did that come from? I have been blessed by having 3D /CBRJ in my life!
It was a moment of absolute happiness when as the Chair of the World Family Doctor Committee Jamaica, I was able to inform CBRJ that their clinic on Monks Street in Spanish Town had been chosen to benefit from the outreach arm of the group and it was my pleasure to listen to Mrs Daniels address those doctors who were honoured at a special celebratory banquet at the Terra Nova Hotel. “Go there Mrs Daniels!”
More tears when I attended Prof. Thorbourne’s funeral. The loss of our Icon! But Molly Thorbourne’s example of selfless devotion to our Jamaican children with disabilities (Devoted to the Development of the Disabled) has only paved the way for the many strong and caring individuals left behind at CBRJ.
So many memories, so much more I could say about a truly great organisation which serves our persons with disabilities even those shut away children in communities across Jamaica. I recall the much missed Christmas parties……. Corporate Jamaica! Are you listening? Give the CBRJ children a Christmas party this year end 2019!
3D Projects, now CBRJ……….From my heart! I LOVE YOU!