Five ‘brothers’ and a dream

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Ce­celia Camp­bell-Liv­ingston

ZI­DANE RHO­DEN, Daniel Bryan, Cee­jay Wil­liams, Ron­aldo Lynch and Daryl Simp­son, who all hail from the trou­bled com­mu­ni­ties of Farm and Ef­fortville in Claren­don, have been liv­ing as brothers for as long as they can re­mem­ber.

Drawn to­gether by cir­cum­stances, they have been each other’s best friends, com­forters and mo­ti­va­tors to keep their fo­cus and go af­ter their dreams.

Fam­ily and Re­li­gion caught up with them at the Ver­salles Ho­tel where they are par­tic­i­pants in a HEART/NTA com­mer­cial food-prepa­ra­tion course made pos­si­ble by co­or­di­na­tor of the pro­gramme, An­to­nio James.

“I think the bond that is formed here is due to fam­ily is­sues. Our sit­u­a­tions are re­ally hurt­ing us, and all of us de­vel­oped a bond as a re­sult,” said Rho­den.

Rho­den de­scribed him­self as a “slow learner” and said he did not get the help he needed so he had to push a lot for him­self.

“I did not get any help to fur­ther my ed­u­ca­tion, and my friends also had trou­ble go­ing ahead with theirs. All of us have a goal in life to be some­body, and now the dream is pos­si­ble,” said Rho­den.

Wil­liams, who de­scribed him­self as the “big brother” of the group, said he was aware of his role, and be­cause of that, he tries to en­sure he stays out of trou­ble.

The young men, whose ages range from 17-19, are also giv­ing thanks for a sta­ble fac­tor in their lives and that is the woman they re­fer to as ‘Miss Roy’, who is a jus­tice of the peace.


“She keeps us out of trou­ble as we hang out at her home and she gives us chores to do and we have ev­ery­thing at our com­fort – food, games, books – any­thing we want. We don’t need to go on the road,” said Lynch.

How­ever, there is one re­al­ity that her moth­er­ing can­not shut out, and it is their ad­dress.

“We have seen so many dead bod­ies. We would be on the foot­ball field play­ing and, just like that, some­one gets shot in front of us. There are times we have to beat a hasty re­treat to avoid get­ting shot,” said Wil­liams.

Bryan said that the com­mu­nity he is from is very dan­ger­ous.

“What drives us from those things is that we have a goal, all of us do. We know what we want in the fu­ture and we know how to accomplish them. We know that we have to work hard. We don’t be­lieve in short­cuts,” he said.

For Bryan, the said cir­cum­stances in his com­mu­nity have shown him what he def­i­nitely does not want.

“In that com­mu­nity, too many men die who take up bad­ness. We can’t be like them. We have to act dif­fer­ent and move dif­fer­ent,” he said.

Reach­ing out to other young men who live in trou­bled com­mu­ni­ties, Wil­liams said that there is al­ways an­other way.

“You can form con­struc­tive groups, cor­re­spond with peo­ple who go to church. We do things. We don’t stay on the road idly,” he said.

There is one thing that would make life more com­fort­able for the five brothers, and that is hav­ing laptops.

“Some­times we want to do some re­search and we are afraid to come out of the com­mu­nity too late. It would be great if we could have com­put­ers and In­ter­net ac­cess. That, for us, would be a dream come true,” they all said.


From left: Co­or­di­na­tor An­to­nio James, Zi­dane Rho­den, Daniel Bryan, Daryl Simp­son, Ron­aldo Lynch, Cee­jay Wil­liams and as­sis­tant co­or­di­na­tor Claude El­liott share lens time.

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