Down on hard times - Elderly woman yearns for comfort in new house

July 07, 2016
Ian Allen/Photographer Daphne Wilson prepares her meal.
Ian Allen/Photographer Daphne Wilson is hoping for a new house.
Ian Allen/Photographer Down on hard times, Daphne Wilson of Hampton Court in St.Thomas, is hoping to find a place to live.

Behind the gentle smile plastered across Daphney Wilson's face lies a dark contrast to her deplorable living conditions.

The 61-year-old widow calls a small, hut-like structure, in Hampton Court, St Thomas, her home. But she said it is far from homely.

"It rough pon me. Look pon the condition of me house. It stay bad. During the thunderstorm wha happen the other day, the house full a wata," she explained.

Wilson was referring to heavy rains which drenched the eastern section of the island in March. One child, Britannie Cowen, died after been swept away by flood waters.

Wilson showed THE STAR the inside of her humble abode. The floor was still wet from recent rains in the area, her clothes were heaped into piles atop scraps of furniture, and the rest of the room was occupied by buckets of water she used for domestic purposes.

She does not have electricity or running water.

When a member of our news team asked where she slept, she said, "Mi sit down on the small chair and rest me head on the clothes. Sometimes me fall off when me a sleep, but me just get back up," she stated.

She explained that her husband, who was a fisherman, drowned at sea after he became entangled in fishing nets. Since then, she has been left to fend for herself in a new parish, having moved to St Thomas from Portland.

Years gone by Wilson was a vendor, selling bananas, coconuts, and plantains in Coronation Market in Kingston, but, she said, that ceased when she developed womb cancer.

She was able to overcome the life-threatening ailment, but could no longer manage the rigours of vending in the market, so she started doing odd jobs for people, she said.

"Mi usually do nuff things, like little washing, but the people dem no wah pay money; $1,000 fi wash nuff nuff clothes," she explained.

Now, to sustain herself, she makes the journey to Golden Grove and sells a variety of small items that are light enough for her to carry.

"Me sell pack soap, Rizla, lighter, matches, and cake soap. On pension day, me go sell the people who collect dem pension," Wilson said.

However, the funds run low most times, and she is often unable to replace her stock, as she also has to spend on her deteriorating health.

"The other day me nearly dead enuh, me pressure lift, blood sugar level lift, me just start tremble and don't know nobody; hospital mi affi reach. Mi walk with stick go to the clinic," she said.

Wilson told THE STAR that she is in dire need of a proper house and other amenities. She is hoping that the charity organisation Food For The Poor will come to her assistance.

Other News Stories