Fatima Rodrigues came to Jersey from Madeira 35 years ago, with her husband, Avelino, to work on a farm in St Clement. She would still be there, working hard as this year’s Jersey Royal crop is planted, if she hadn’t suffered a stroke two years ago, which left her left arm and leg paralysed.
One of the newer residents at the Jersey Cheshire Home, she has her own room – decorated and furnished to her taste – and she feels fortunate to be so well cared for.
A treatment programme, including physiotherapy and hydrotherapy is paying off as she can now move the fingers on her left hand. This may only amount to very small movement but she is delighted with the progress.
Fatima goes home to Les Tours Farm whenever Avelino has time off during the week and at weekends, and her children, Marcio, Bino and Michael visit as often as they can. However, as her ten-year-old granddaughter Eva lives in Scotland Fatima has to wait for family holidays home to see her.
Until her stroke, Fatima and Avelino, had spent all their time here working and living at the same place. Their children were born and educated in Jersey so she regards the Island as her home, though she would like to go back to Madeira in the future for a holiday.
Fatima may only have lived at the home since February last, but in that time she has been on holiday to France and on a never-to-be-forgotten voyage on the Jubilee Sailing Trust tall ship Tenacious. However, it was a working passage so she was expected to muck in with everyone else – disabled and able-bodied – by taking watch duty, sail setting, mast climbing and keeping lookout. It was a memorable trip, on which she thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of her shipmates and the long open views to a distant horizon – then arriving home in style when Tenacious anchored off Gorey.
When she isn’t back home – or on holiday – Fatima spends her days at the home, socialising with her fellow residents, painting, watching television and feeling lucky to be alive.