Jobs & Careers: Mason Alvina brings spice to construction sites

September 26, 2019
Alvina Hanna, a female construction worker.
I’ll sign my name there, and then you’ll know – I am Spice.
Photos By Sashana Small Alvina Hanna gave up her job as a hairdresser and took on masonry.
Alvina Hanna

Alvina Hanna never shied away from hard work. In fact, she told THE STAR that it is something she enjoys.

“I grew up and hear that by the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread. nobody gonna take up bread and give you for the whole time, suh mi mek sure seh my brow dem always a sweat,” she said.

The 46-year-old is a skilled mason. She is known as Spice to her co-workers and like the condiment, used in dishes, she has added something special to the construction sites in the corporate area for more than 20 years.

“My father was a mason, my grandfather was a mason, and I used to used their shovel and stuff and do wattle and daub when I was a child, but I didn’t know that I would be doing it as a skill,” she said.

And despite the strenuous nature of her job, Hanna believes she is fulfilling her purpose.

“I love mason work. I did sewing, I did hairdressing, but those was not my calling. Now I do block, I do doorjam, windowjam, flashing, granite ceiling, everything in mason,” she said.

She said her work ethic and passion for the job is something that has gained her the respect of her majority male colleagues.

“They take me for their sister, for their friend. No one interferes with me or make me feel down or out, and if we have a little fuss and fight, it just a likkle work thing,” she said.

And as a single mom, this also helps her to provide for her two children. “I am their mother and father, that’s why I have to work so hard to send them to school; everything is mommy, no daddy,” she said.

The Bull Bay, St Andrew resident told the THE STAR that she has no formal training in masonry. And coupled with the fact that she is a woman, site managers are normally hesitant to hire her. But she’s always confident that her work will speak for her.

“He’ll say, let me try you. he normally want to see some kind of paper or something, and I say, you know what, you want to really know if I am a mason, just give me a wall. I’ll sign my name there, and then you’ll know,” she said.

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