Help a mom, save a fam­ily

Bull Bay res­i­dents ap­peal for more sup­port for strug­gling neigh­bours

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Ja­son Cross/Gleaner Writer ja­son.cross@glean­erjm.com

CON­CERNED RES­I­DENTS of the Black Street area in Eleven Miles, St Thomas, are ap­peal­ing to the pub­lic and state agencies to lend a help­ing hand to a fam­ily liv­ing in de­praved con­di­tions in Bull Bay.

While neigh­bours have been pitch­ing in to as­sist where they can, the need is greater than they can meet on their own.

On Wed­nes­day, The Gleaner vis­ited the shack in which the sickly Madge­line Carter lives with her chil­dren for years.

So bad was the sit­u­a­tion that four years ago, Eve­lyn Smart, a neigh­bour, de­cided to take in Carter’s then nine-year-old daugh­ter, who was con­stantly on the streets and the sub­ject of taunts and beat­ings by her peers and oth­ers.

“The mother in the hospi­tal now and she needs blood to do a surgery,” Smart said, with­out re­veal­ing de­tails of the ill­ness. “We just hope that some­body will try and help them. The lit­tle girl was on the streets and ev­ery­body come, beat and kick her.

“I have been in this com­mu­nity for about 38 years now and I knew the mother from then, and we have good di­a­logue. She wasn’t al­ways in this spot, but af­ter a while, she got sick and she had chil­dren and couldn’t help them. She had two boys and one girl. What had hap­pened was that the lit­tle girl was on the streets be­cause she had no help, and ev­ery­body beat her.”

Af­ter re­flect­ing on the lit­tle girl’s plight one day, Smart took her in.

“She went through a lot of abuse. I saw what was hap­pen­ing one day and these girls were beat­ing her and I said, ‘No, man. This is some­body’s child.’ I took her in. Af­ter that, some­body re­ported it to the Child Devel­op­ment Agency (now the Child Pro­tec­tion and Fam­ily Ser­vices Agency) and they asked if I would take her and I said yes.”

MAK­ING PROGRESS

The 13-year-old girl has been mak­ing steady progress in school af­ter not be­ing able to read, Smart said.

“The mother needs help. She is not in any shape to do any­thing at all. They need some­where to live com­fort­ably,” Carter added. “I man­age, and you know how? Through God. God helps me with her and peo­ple, when they heard that I have her, they send things for her, so she is short of noth­ing. Is just the mother and the son I am very much con­cerned about.”

As it re­lates to Carter’s 22-yearold son, who has epilepsy, res­i­dents be­lieve he is a bril­liant lad and can turn the cor­ner for the bet­ter if given a chance to at­tend school for the first time in his life. They are sure it would en­hance and bring joy to him.

“The son can hardly speak, but he is ex­tra­or­di­nary. He says he is an in­spec­tor for the Ja­maica Ur­ban Tran­sit Com­pany (JUTC), but that is just in his head. There is noth­ing about JUTC that him don’t know ... . Him have a watch weh tell him di time di bus dem come,” one res­i­dent said. “Not one day him go to school. If him ever go to school, that would be a joy. Some­body should just come on board and help them ... . Him nuh stop visit him mother up a di hospi­tal.”

An­other con­cerned res­i­dent said that be­cause Carter’s son was not ex­posed while grow­ing up, he takes the JUTC bus into Kingston reg­u­larly to learn new things.

“Ac­cord­ing to him, him work wid JUTC. Him tek di bus dem and go town go en­lighten him­self,” she said.

“I need some­body to build even a proper one-room and a bath­room for them, with toi­let. The mother gone do a surgery and for her to come back home to this is re­ally in­ap­pro­pri­ate,” she added. “Poor Re­lief came be­fore and said they would give her a house. But when them come and see the spot, they told her she has no pa­pers for the land, so them can’t give her the house.”

RU­DOLPH BROWN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

The di­lap­i­dated one-room shack at Black Street in Eleven Miles, Bull Bay, where Madge­line Carter lives with her fam­ily.

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