Help a mom, save a family
Bull Bay residents appeal for more support for struggling neighbours
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.”
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.”
The dilapidated one-room shack at Black Street in Eleven Miles, Bull Bay, where Madgeline Carter lives with her family.