‘Country life a di best life’

THERE is a sense of pride that oozes from residents of Bryan’s Hill district in Clarendon as they boast about their serene, quiet and community-oriented neighbourhood.

There seemed to be a common thread among them, as at every corner shop and every turn, the same six words rolled of everyone’s tongue: “Country life a di best life.”

The northern Clarendon community off Pumpkin Turn is described as “just enough”.

“Things nuh too bad. Country life good man. The area improve a lot, and in our area, we nuh have no crime. A years now nothing nuh gwaan inna fi wi area. We crime-free,” a grateful Charles Risden, 78, told the Jamaica Observer on a recent visit to Bryan’s Hill district.

The citrus and coco farmer said everything is present in the community for a decent life.

“Yuh have church…more than one church too,” he said laughing. “You have a basic school for children, and some likkle shops around the place. Suh things nah really gwaan too bad, and unemployment nuh really so hot inna the area, because most of us just stick to farming. I also rear pigs and goats.”

Another resident, Horace Boothe, who has called Bryan’s Hill home since he was a child, echoed Risden’s perspective. He told the Observer that the community has transformed with time.

“Back in the days, like in the 70s, 80s a come up, you wouldn’t see this kinda setting now. You wouldn’t see an upholstery shop here, and you wouldn’t see a little plaza. You wouldn’t see so much building,” the 68-year-old said, as he sat outside the upholstery shop where he works.

“People used to go further out because you wouldn’t find a upholster man in this area. Now that this likkle shop put up, people from all about come and give us the likkle support; and that way, you have a likkle employment right in your community. It is not a regular basis, but it is enough to keep people going,” Boothe added.

He said, too, that prior to the upholstery shop being in the community, people had to “go out to try and find the source of repairing yuh chair or yuh car seat, or whatever.

“This little shop has been here now for quite a while…roughly 10 years,” he explained.

Boothe also pointed to Bull Head, a neighbouring community, which he said comes alive at the beginning of Lent each year.

“You have a lot of activities taking place in Bull Head now. Back in the days, it wasn’t like that. Only one and two people used to go up there and hike, and now it open the eye of the society. So a lot of people now head to Bull Head, especially on Ash Wednesday,” he said.

— Romardo Lyons

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