Wilbert Dennie committed to coal
For close to 35 years, Wilbert Dennie has been burning coal to earn a livelihood. Dennie, 60, is also a farmer. He grew up in the quiet community of Resource in Manchester.
He admits that burning coal is a hard task, but necessity is the mother of invention.
“True mi neva have any other work,” he said, explaining how he got into the business.
In explaining the tedious coalburning process, his son, Junior Dennie, who assists him occasionally, said that the land is cleared first, then the wood is gathered and split into smaller pieces.
These pieces of wood are skillfully packed atop each other in a pile, after which grass is added, followed by dirt. The pile is then lit.
How long it takes for the wood to turn to coal depends on the size of the ‘coal skill’.
“If you’re going to burn about 20 bags, it will take about one week, but if you’re going to burn 100 bags, it would take 20 to 25 days,” said Junior.
Sourcing wood is sometimes difficult as he has to search far and wide to find specific types of wood, such as logwood, dogwood, and bulletwood.
“It’s hard to find buyers when you burn it. Right now, him have some, and him can’t get no buyer for it,” said Junior.
A bag of coal usually costs $700. However, if it is sold in bulk, it’s $100 cheaper.
This job hasn’t been short of challenges as sometimes the Dennies don’t reap the benefits of their efforts.
“Sometimes he burns it and because he doesn’t get to reach on time, most of it burn up. And if he was supposed to get 10 bags he’d only get three to four bags,” the younger Dennie said.
However, these challenges have not discouraged the elder Dennie as