The Star (Jamaica)
Andrew Kirkland fixing his community’s potholes
“Sumn inah di pan nuh, Daddy? See me a stretch mi hand deh Daddy.”
This is the catchphrase repeated by 33-year-old Andrew Kirkland who has taken on the responsibility of repairing the potholes on Featherbed Lane in Spanish Town, St Catherine.
Though inexperienced in roadwork, Kirkland, a fruit vendor, said he noticed the deplorable state of the main thoroughfare after he decided to start a small business in the vicinity.
“Long time di road stay suh and it always delay fi fix. So now me jus a do weh me can do fi di best a di people dem suh dem vehicle nuh mash up. ‘Cause a nuff time me deh inna me bed me hear ‘errks!’ car lick up, yuh understand. Car gone inna gully,” he said.
Kirkland said he has been consulting persons involved in construction, including masons, as well as other local experts.
“Me have a guy weh me and him talk ‘bout it sometime. Him say, all you do, you just keep on packing it [potholes] wid di stones and den you put di fine stone dem den di concrete and just do di rest,” he said. “About two weeks ago, me start dump it up, pack in stone, throw di dirt dem inna it and cast it. Me have likkle more finishing fi do fi it smooth weh, otherwise di vehicle dem can fly past. Me see it wid me own eyes. Di guys nuh stop tell me say ‘Yes youth, respect youth. A good thing yah do’.” Kirkland explained that he got stones for his road project while debushing an area.
“Mi take up di stone dem, dig dem outta di grung, pack dem dung inna it. Mi get some marl.
You know Water Commission ever a drop some likkle likkle maul all over di place. So likkle weh left offa weh dem use, mi just a dig it up back and gwaan pack di road so me can do di casting,” he said. But after spending over $7,000 of his own money on cement and other material, Kirkland quickly realised the project would be no small feat, leading him to adopt his aforementioned catchphrase to encourage passers-by to drop a monetary contribution into his white pan.
“Dem can give a likkle donation same way. Mi buy over seven bag a cement already. Mi use four bag already up here so and, so far, me ago use couple right here so,” he said, pointing to a spot.
Fuelled by the encouragement that he has received from residents and passers-by, Kirkland said he hopes his act of service will also cause his sales to increase.
“Di hole deh so, it difficult. At time, people affi stop, at night time people affi stop. Doing dat now, it ago give people a good vibe seh ‘Yuh know? Mago support this guy’,” he said.