Story and photos by Shahein Fitzpatrick
Christiana Teague is the eldest of 14 children by George and Eugenie Hampson of New Winthorpes. Born on this date in 1930, she has been in the field of medicine for more than four decades, and she spoke to Observer media about her childhood and what inspired her to become a nurse.
“I wanted to be a nurse, but they used to say, nurses are this and nurses are that, but I insisted that I would be a nurse.
“I didn’t want to be a teacher; my mother had fourteen of us, and of that fourteen, around eight of them became teachers.
“What really encouraged me to be a nurse, was that whenever anything happened to my smaller siblings, instead of going straight to my mother, they would come to me and say, ‘Christy, I got a cut,’ or ‘My foot hurts,’ and so on and so forth,” she said.
She continued, “We didn’t have a nursing school; it was a class at the Holberton Hospital.
“Even though we were students, we would go out to visit and care for the sick, and this really grabbed my interest.
Teague explained that politeness, honesty, hard work, and self-discipline were some of the values that her parents instilled in her.
“Growing up in my time, people were much more respectful. We were not out idling in the streets, my mother was a strict woman, and we had to do things right.”
She also revealed that activities such as backyard gardening helped to mold her and her siblings into becoming self-sufficient individuals with an appreciation for produce and flowers.
“We weren’t necessarily rich, or well-off people but we were industrious.
She continued, “I used to watch people when they were forking, but I couldn’t manage the fork, so I took a mattock and I dug and made my banks. I was quite inventive.
Teague, who still displays that hard-working spirit, enthused that she is still active at age 90 because of her sewing and handicraft, and of course, the grace and mercy of God.
“I crochet, sew and create; I make different types of accessories such as ties, hats and scarves; I do everything basically.
She revealed that she acquired that skill by watching her mother.
“The things I do here, I didn’t go anywhere to learn them, I learned by observation.
The 90-year-old explained that business at her #25 stall in the local craft market in St John’s city is not as active as before, but a higher calling inspires her to show up for work daily.
“I come here to help and teach people; I help by teaching them how to crochet, and I give advice to those who need assistance.
“My greatest accomplishment in life is that in ways, big and small, I helped people. I am encouraging people to help their neighbours whenever possible. Kindness is its own reward. This should be our motto. This is my motto, and I have done it.”
She ended by saying that, “I am grateful to God that I am still alive.”
We here at Observer media take this opportunity in wishing Nurse Teague a wonderful 90th birthday.