Violet Winter still committed to vending after 40 years
If you should pass through the community of Portland Cottage in Clarendon, then you would be sure to see the face of Violet Winter.
She has a stall along the main road and has been selling in that location for 40 years. Bananas, both green and ripe, breadfruit and yam are just a few of the types of produce she sells along that route.
Winter, 59, is a native of Clarendon. She grew up in the community of Mount Providence. Reminiscing on her childhood, she remembers skipping school to pick coffee at times.
"I love church, and I love to go out on trips. I like to buy my clothes, so I picked coffee for other people and I got my money and buy my clothes," she said. "I was so independent then. Until now, I try to be an independent woman," she said.
Winter, a mother of nine, decided to become a vendor as it was her way of providing for her family.
She is usually on the road twice per week. She leaves home at around 5 a.m. and is back at around 6 or 7 p.m., "depending on how the market goes".
In previous years, Winter used to plant her own produce, which she sold at the location.
These would include yam, sweet potato, plantain, and sweet cassava. She still plants sweet potato.
"When I don't have those, I buy," she said.
In the past, Winter had to carry the load on her head from Mount Providence to a community miles away known as Cocoa Piece.
"It has been a challenge because things never work out sometimes. The transport never frequent, and the road was very rough," she said.
The community of Portland Cottage is know to be flood-prone, and Winter can attest to this.
"In Portland Cottage, when I went down there most times ... the rain, man. The water all catch me a me waist," she recalled.
But these challenges have not demotivated her as she continues to do what she must in order to provide for her family.
"I have nine kids, and I send them to school. I work the hardest way. I used to burn coal as well. I needed to have food on my table," she said. "I don't like to hear them seh them hungry. I always ask the Lord to help me, and he did help me".