Rose Thomas finds way out of hardship

January 04, 2018
Rose Thomas relaxes at her stall in Mona.
Rose Thomas
Rose Thomas sits in her vehicle.

Faced with financial challenges and limited options, like many other Jamaicans, Rose Thomas used a positive mindset and determination to 'tun har hand mek fashion'.

"Not because nutten nah gwaan, yuh can do a likkle ting fi yuhself and it can work out," Thomas said.

That's the advice she has for persons who maybe searching for their own way out of hardship, as she is living proof of that mentality.

Upbeat with a bright smile as she spoke to THE STAR, Thomas sells candies and shares a joke with a customer.

The 61-year-old woman said she has held her spot along Hope Boulevard near to the Hope Road in Mona, St Andrew, since 1986.

It is this space she which said has paid for her four children to complete their secondary level of education and also her own education.

"Me send miself go school. Me have a Level 3 Certification in practical nursing, and me have Bachelors in Theology," she told THE STAR, with her face lighting up.

Thomas started off selling fruits and sweets then moved up to fried sprat and coconut drops, before eventually selling cow cod soup.


Significant threats


Nowadays, she has a table laid with dried goods from spice buns to cheese crunches, fruits, two igloos with cold drinks, along with the daily newspapers.

While she is joyous about the success of her business, Thomas has faced a couple small but significant threats to her operation.

The first being the removal and subsequent destruction of her stall by the then Metropolitan Parks and Markets Department. Her solution to that setback was to use a shopping cart to continue making her money.

While she faced pressure from the authorities about the location of her stall, she became a safe space for schoolchildren. The friendships Thomas forged with the children led the citizens of Hope Pastures to lobby for her to remain at that spot.

"The citizens association tell dem say me is more a benefit than a threat to the community," Thomas said.

With one obstacle out the way, Thomas faced another challenge when the area that was used to store her goods was no longer available.

Now she needed ways to both store and transport her goods.

Thomas laughed as she remembered in 2009 how she bought her first vehicle using only coins she had been saving at home.

But it was only after the purchasing her vehicle that she learnt how to drive.

Although she feels very hearty, and she has managed to acquire her own home and her children are now grown and working, Thomas admits that she believes it is time for her to retire.

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