Stranded in Ja­maica

Mom, Matthew stuck in shel­ter for hur­ri­cane af ter travel doc­u­ments stolen

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Corey Robin­son Staff Re­porter corey.robin­son@glean­

JODIANN CAMP­BELL, a 31-year-old res­i­dent of Lon­don, Eng­land, was a pic­ture of worry yes­ter­day as she stood out­side the Man­chioneal All-Age School in Port­land, one of sev­eral shel­ters set up in the eastern parish.

Camp­bell and her four-yearold son, Matthew, have been stuck in Ja­maica for the past three weeks af­ter their travel doc­u­ments were al­legedly stolen from her purse dur­ing a trip to down­town Kingston.

The two were sup­posed to be in the is­land for three weeks to visit Camp­bell’s mother and other rel­a­tives in Man­chioneal.

But more than two weeks past their de­par­ture date, the mother yes­ter­day found her­self in the leak­ing shel­ter, pon­der­ing how to pro­vide for her son a cooked meal as a hur­ri­cane bear­ing his name ploughs to­wards Ja­maica.

“It’s aw­ful! Now I’m think­ing that my son needs a hot meal; where am I go­ing to get a hot meal from? The elec­tric­ity is go­ing to go soon. What’s go­ing to hap­pen? And mos­qui­toes, what if some­thing should break out? How are we go­ing to cope?” be­moaned Camp­bell, as her son frol­icked un­per­turbed among some 20 per­sons, chil­dren in­cluded, who turned in to the shel­ter early.

“I want to go home. I should be home, and now I’ve found my­self in a shel­ter and the shel­ter is even leak­ing right above our heads. The wa­ter just keeps pour­ing down and it’s not a good ex­pe­ri­ence at all,” said Camp­bell, who mi­grated from Ja­maica 12 years ago.

Camp­bell said some weeks ago, she had taken a bus from Half-Way Tree in St An­drew and sat be­side a woman. When she ar­rived down­town, she re­alised her and her son’s travel doc­u­ments and other valu­ables were miss­ing from her purse.

“They just picked it. I think it was a lady who picked it, re­ally,” she said.


She also ex­pressed un­cer­tainty about what Hur­ri­cane Matthew will bring.

“I’m hear­ing all types of sto­ries. Peo­ple say it is go­ing to rain, the sea is go­ing to come over, ev­ery­thing is go­ing to blow away, and you just don’t know what to ex­pect,” she said, wor­ried.

Yes­ter­day, while Matthew soaked up the new ex­pe­ri­ence, en­joy­ing the at­ten­tion be­cause of his name, Camp­bell and her mother hoped the hur­ri­cane would not jeop­ar­dise an ap­pli­ca­tion to the Bri­tish High Com­mis­sion to al­low them re-en­try to Lon­don with­out their doc­u­ments.

At the shel­ter, though, 64year-old Joyce Ken­ton and oth­ers wor­ried about a short­age of food, and their in­abil­ity to track the hur­ri­cane, as they were with­out a tele­vi­sion or ra­dio.

In the nearby Long Road com­mu­nity in Port­land, Paul Brown and about a dozen other men pre­pared for the hur­ri­cane by down­ing flasks of rum and chaser.

“We do what need to do al­ready, man. The storm doesn’t re­ally trou­ble we. It is peo­ple down at Man­chioneal who usu­ally get it the worst. We deh pon the high up here so,” he said.

Res­i­dents of Hec­tor’s River, not far away, were far more con­cerned about their fate, how­ever.

Through­out that com­mu­nity, ham­mers clanged on zinc sheets un­der a light driz­zle.

“Right now, I pack up my things dem – ev­ery­thing in my house. I packed dem up al­ready, and I cover dem so that if the roof flies off, they won’t wet up. Right now, I am just watch­ing what is go­ing on be­cause I’m not stay­ing here. I am tak­ing away my­self to the shel­ter,” said Gwen­dolyn Brown, mak­ing ref­er­ence to the Happy Grove High School.

Late yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, Aron Grant, a se­cu­rity guard charged with over­see­ing that shel­ter, said that while the sev­enth-, eighth-, and ninth­grade class­rooms have been made avail­able for res­i­dents, none had turned up yet.


De­spite be­ing in a shel­ter, four-year-old Matthew Adeyemi (left) and five-yearold Aviana Tay­lor had some­thing to smile about at the Man­chioneal All-Age School.


Jodi-Ann Camp­bell and her son, Matthew Adeyemi, at the Man­chioneal All-Age School in Port­land yes­ter­day.

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