Senior citizen moves from ‘swamp’ to new home
For years, Calalloo Mews, St Andrew resident Judith Noble yearned for better living conditions, and on Wednesday, her prayers were answered when she was handed the keys to a brand new three-bedroom house courtesy of the New Social Housing Project.
Moments after she was handed the keys by Prime Minister Andrew Holness and given an official tour of the dwelling, the 68-year-old grandmother said she broke down in happy tears.
"People use to say 'Watch dem inna di swamp, dem a hogs'. Ringworm use to take up mi and the children because one time when rain fall, the gully come right in the house and meet all mi knees and mi is a tall woman. Used condoms, faeces use to come through the house on we," she said. Calalloo Mews, which is in St Andrew Western formed out of the Operation Pride housing project during the 1990s, is a small community that is situated across from the Riverton City landfill and is home to over 500 residents.
Noble said she once owned a house in Duhaney Park but she fell on hard times and was evicted a day after she gave birth to her last child 27 years ago. She said she reached out to her pastor, who lived in Calalloo Mews, for assistance and she was offered an empty house in the community. But she had to leave it due to issues with some residents. One day two of her sons and their friend cut some sticks and started constructing a dwelling.
"Afterward dem get some thick cardboard weh come down a Riverton Dump and some plastic and nail it round it. Dem get some old zinc and dem make the roof and we feel comfortable. A storm come one night and people tink we drown, but believe it or not the cardboard house stand up firm and other house round we tear dung. Who could it be but God?" she added.
Noble said one of her sons, who is now deceased, got a job at a supermarket and was able to earn enough to build a house made of plyboard. But after several years, the home started to deteriorate.
"When di rain fall the entire gully just run through the house suh. The place look like swamp and it would take days to dry up. One time one a mi daughter pregnant and di board give way in the floor and she just drop right through it. A God make she never lick up har belly. Seven of us live in there at the time," Noble said.
She told THE WEEKEND STAR that she struggled to make ends meet as a domestic helper. She eventually turned to her MP Anthony Hylton for assistance and he promised that he would get her a house.
"A years mi bother him fah. Last year, mi daughter get a Food For The Poor house and she give mi a room in it, but enough space wasn't there to build a next house. Mi daughter did buy the land next door and have him title and a it we use," she said.
"Mi nuh move in yet because mi a wait on my church members dem to come and bless it, so a next week before mi move in. Mi nuh sure which one a mi children and grandchildren dem a come live with mi but all a dem welcome," she said.