Breakaway forced hospital porter to walk nine miles to work

September 09, 2021
Steve Griffiths explains how he makes the nine-mile trek from Dublin Castle to the University Hospital of the West Indies on foot.
Steve Griffiths explains how he makes the nine-mile trek from Dublin Castle to the University Hospital of the West Indies on foot.
Workmen trying to complete the rehabilitation of this section of the Gordon Town main road.
Workmen trying to complete the rehabilitation of this section of the Gordon Town main road.
A section of the breakaway in January.
A section of the breakaway in January.
Steve Griffiths said that with the affected sections of the Gordon Town main road being rehabilitated, he is no longer forced to walk all the time or take the longer alternative route.
Steve Griffiths said that with the affected sections of the Gordon Town main road being rehabilitated, he is no longer forced to walk all the time or take the longer alternative route.
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Last year, heavy rains pounded the island causing a massive breakaway on the Gordon Town main road in St Andrew, cutting off several communities.

As a result, the livelihood of many persons were interrupted, but not that of 56-year-old Steve Griffiths. Because of the breakaway, Griffiths, who has been a porter at the University Hospital of the West Indies for the past 21 years, walked nine miles to work from his home in Dublin Castle on a regular basis.

"I just didn't want to miss a day, so I would start walking at 4 a.m. and mi nuh walk fast either, because mi nuh wah sweat up mi self, and mi just do mi ting until mi reach a work. A nuff time mi walk go work and, sometimes, all walk come home back. Mi nuh make di breakaway prevent mi from doing that," he said. Whenever he was not in the mood for walking, Griffiths had to travel the long route through Guava Ridge or put on a brave face while journeying through the dreaded Savage Pen Road. Griffiths told THE STAR that like others, he is breathing a sigh of relief that the repair to the Gordon Town road is near completion.

"Mi happy it finish, and it look much stronger than before. Mi nuh have to walk to work anymore unless a me feel like it," he said.

With the island's hospitals under siege from a third wave of the deadly COVID-19 virus, Griffiths said he is yet to take the vaccine but has been boosting his immune system with natural remedies. He however stated that although he is not currently assigned to the COVID ward at the hospital, he is extremely stressed as he has seen first-hand how deadly the virus can be. As a result, he will be taking his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday.

SCARY AND DANGEROUS

"It is scary and dangerous. I see a lot of people getting sick. I remember when patients use to ask us to buy things for them, but, to be honest, we are afraid to even take the money from them because you just don't know who have the virus," he said.

"Sometimes I am glad when I get a day off because the whole thing is traumatising. The doctors and nurses are doing everything they can and it is very hard on them, too. I have seen patients sitting on bench for three days, because there are just no beds available," he added.

Griffiths said he is encouraging everyone to get vaccinated, and warns against the misinformation that is being spread.

"COVID anno joke ting, man, so stop follow di tings dem on social media and just know say dis ting ya real and it a kill off people. A nuff people who mi see whe nuh believe inna di vaccine come up a di hospital sick," Griffiths said.

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