A home at last!
FOR the past 10 years Natesha Fearon and her three children have been living in a condemned windowless bathroom on an abandoned lot of land in Trench Town, the gritty community in the Corporate Area that spawned many of Jamaica’s music stars, including the legendary Bob Marley.
Today, Fearon — who makes a living selling fruits, snacks and other items from a stall in front of the property — is smiling as she anticipates the completion of a two-bedroom, one-bathroom concrete house being built for her by a community charity organisation called Dream Team.
The house is being constructed on the same piece of land and Fearon regards it as an answer to her prayers for a hand up from a life fraught with misery and mistreatment by previous male partners.
“I was having problems with partners and I wanted to find somewhere for myself, but the only place I could find was the bathroom. I did everything in there — bathe, cook, and sleep. It was kinda hackling and stressing but I had to cope — with the mindset that better must come,” Fearon told the Jamaica Observer.
“It is better you are happy in somewhere comfortable and try have something for yourself than to ‘bundle up’ with people. It is stressing, but mi haffi put God first and overcome. I have been living in this bathroom space for around 10 years,” she said.
Fearon explained that she has garnered a lot of strength and courage from seeing how her daughter and two sons have been handling the situation, despite being teased by other children in the community.
“As far as I see it my children don’t have any problem, although people used to tease them and seh dem live inna toilet and this and that. Dem go school everyday and dem go outside everyday same way. If it did a stress dem, maybe dem woulda waa fi go live wid other family,” the mother reasoned.
She was delighted to share that she would soon be enjoying the comfort and privacy of her own bathroom.
“There was a bath where we could bathe but eventually that got choked. For defecation, we use somebody else’s bathroom. We have our baths anywhere out here suh, because I don’t have a bathroom,” she said pointing to the open yard. “We wait until night before we can hold a fresh because people have to pass in the daytime. We only have little privacy in the nights. I am looking forward to this very much.”
Expressing gratitude to the Dream Team, Fearon said: “I was dying for a little space because I was clustered in there. I am very happy, because I didn’t know where help would come from and God sent the Dream Team to make my dreams come through because mi couldn’t do nuh better. This was the only place I could get.”
Dream Team founder Akino Page told the Observer he knew that the lot had been abandoned for many years and was shocked to learn that someone was living there.
He immediately started highlighting Fearon’s plight on his YouTube page, Kino Life in Jamaica, and donations began streaming in shortly afterwards.
“It was a place you couldn’t walk past because of the scent that was coming from over there,” Page said. “Is she calculate out things and try to make it comfortable to live. When I saw her condition I was really touched by it and the fact she had three kids living inside there. When she took me to view inside, I couldn’t believe someone was living like that, without windows. It is like a microwave. There was no ventilation and they were cooking in that same place.”
Added Page: “We added one room and a bathroom. We are going to cut out about three windows on the old building so at least she can get some air inside there. It is really lovely. When you see where she is coming from, there have been a lot of changes in her appearance. It is like some weight was lifted from her shoulders. She will have a better living condition. I could see that she was really stressed out from before.”
The Dream Team collaborates with local and overseas donors to help rebuild or renovate homes in Trench Town. The charity also distributes care packages and cooked meals to the less fortunate, especially the elderly in the community.
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