Tired of living under mango tree
Nigel Reid shouts for help to own a homeSunday, September 26, 2021
BY JASON CROSS
With his only shelter being a tarpaulin under a mango tree inside the Daytona housing scheme in Greater Portmore, St Catherine, Nigel Reid is appealing for help to live somewhere comfortable, which he can call his own.
The Jamaica Observer visited the 59-year-old on Thursday and, despite having to withstand the elements during times of adverse weather conditions — even tropical storms — he still manages to put on a smile, as well as maintain his sanity, especially when he remembers the people who have been kind to him.
The Westmoreland native highlighted that he used to make a living from tourism-related activities in that parish, as well as in Montego Bay, St James, but moved to Kingston less than a decade ago to provide company for his elderly and sickly mother at her home in Daytona. It was also his intention to pursue alternative opportunities.
After falling from a tree and seriously injuring his left foot he said he was hospitalised for around eight months.
When he returned to the house in Daytona, his mother had relocated to a community in the Kingston Eastern constituency. He also claimed that, when he returned, relatives had taken control of the property and rented it to strangers.
Reid acknowledged that his lifestyle had not been ideal, but said he is better off not fighting with his relatives to regain his stay at the premises.
He therefore appealed to individuals more fortunate than himself, and with good conscience, to help remedy his predicament.
“Mi foot bruk around seven years ago and mi go hospital. When mi come back, mi mother move out a di house. When mi come back from hospital... some different people live in deh. Mi never bother fight dem or anything, so mi just try a thing. Mi talk to somebody and dem seh mi can do mi thing, and mi feel more comfortable here than to fight with my family. Mi feel happy to live by myself and to know I am no pest to anybody,” he told the Sunday Observer.
Reid claimed that he maintains a good relationship with the residents, who sometimes find odd jobs for him to receive a stipend occasionally. Some of the residents with whom the Sunday Observer spoke validated his claims.
The Sunday Observer enquired on the whereabouts of Reid's relatives who had reportedly rented out the premises and was told that they all reside overseas.
“Everybody like me. They will call me and send me to the shop. Majority of the people, like the decent ones, look out for me. Is a mango tree mi climb and drop off and bruk mi ankle. When mi go doctor dem seh dem waan cut it off. Mi decide seh mi naah cut it off, and mi stay a hospital fi almost one year. Mi foot a get better. It a come on. Some people tell me seh dem woulda run out di people dem and go back inna di house if dem was me. The funny thing is, my mother never tell mi fi come out a di house yet. Right now, I would love a roof over my head for myself,” he said.
Corey Walker, who is the community barber, told the Sunday Observer that, before his own mother passed away a few years ago she took a special interest in Reid. According to Walker, his mother would treat Reid like her own son, But after her death, he has had nobody religiously looking after his well-being.
Walker also issued an appeal to Jamaicans at home and abroad to offer help to Reid, who desperately needs support to remedy his current circumstances.
“We know his mother as Miss Smith. Him deh round Miss Smith until she just move out of the community. It is her house, and everything started going down hill from he went to hospital and she moved. Him never employed nowhere, so him pick mango, ackee, and dem thing deh. More while people send him fi change glass bottles and use the money to buy back juice. Mi have mi likkle garden and he would plough it for me. A suh him woulda mek a likkle money.
“My mother did tek him on as her son. When she cook, she would feed him. A morning time, my mother would make tea for him before she mek tea fi herself. She would prepare meals and he would eat. Mother passed away so he has nobody really looking out for him, and I don't live in the community anymore and I may not have enough to help as I would like,” the owner of the Elite Image Barber Shop, told the Sunday Observer.
“It really rough pon him. During all hurricane, mi feel it fi him. A under the tree him stay during any storm weh pass. Even with rain and breeze, a deh suh him stay. If anybody out there can assist him, please, mi a beg you, help him! He is in a situation weh no human being nuffi inna. Di situation really rough,” he continued.
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