My Mother, Floris Ryers, told me much of what I know about my great grandmother.
The rest I learned in 1985, when I read about my great grandmother in
the book Six Immigrants, an anthology of prominent East Indians who
migrated to the Island of Trinidad.
Veronique was born in Madras, India. In the late 1890's,
she was brought to the West Indian Island of Martinique
by her parents, who came as indentured servants. Upon
completion of their work contract, Veronique and her parents
resumed their inherent calling of Midwifery and Folk Healing.
Veronique was a skilled and respected healer. She was well known throughout
Martinique by the poor women who had no other source of prenatal or
family healthcare. Veronique was allowed to practice her healing arts
because she had married a Frenchman. However, when she and her husband
separated, the white doctors charged her with practicing witchcraft
and had her deported.
As Veronique was being taken back to India, the ship made a stop at
the Island of Trinidad. As fate would have it, a French doctor who lived
there petitioned the Governor to grant Veronique the right to live and
work on the island. The French doctor successfully argued that Veronique
would be a valuable asset to the people. The petition was granted, and
the people of Trinidad came to benefit from her selfless service. For
over fifty years, Vernique tended to the health needs of the poor people
in the countryside of Trinidad.
When she passed on in 1954, she was 106 years old. She gave her blessings
to her eldest son, Edmond Narine, my grandfather. On behalf of four generations
of healers and the many people she served, Veronique Narine's legacy
and service continues. She is clearly remembered and loved.
Rev. Dr. Richard Browne