Jamaica – Nowhere to go
Elderly blind man tells of hardships living in 'fowl coop'
KINGSTON –– An 81-year-old man has, for the past five years, been living in an abandoned fowl coop in Jericho, just outside of Linstead in St Catherine.
“I have nowhere to go . . . this is where I call home,” said Rosalvo Patterson, who is partially blind and who walks with the aidof a stick.
Patterson said the fowl coop in which he was forced to live provided little or no protection from the elements. He worries when he hears the rumbling sound of thunder. To him that signals the start of rain which, in most instances, floods his ‘home’.
“. . . In the nights the place is cold and wet. Not even a sheet I can find to cover myself,” said the frail-looking senior citizen who was slumped in a corner of the dilapidated coop covered with feathers, pieces of cloth, and old debris when he spoke with the Jamaica Observer yesterday. Beside him were several dirty plastic bottles which he uses to store drinking water.
Patterson said that some nights when he gets hungry or cold, or wants to escape the flooding, he attempts going outside. However, because of his poor eyesight he is afraid that he might end up falling and harming himself.
“Sometimes when things get really bad I just have to sit in the corner and cry,” said Patterson, who questioned what wicked deed he may have done in his younger years that has subjected him to this life of pain.
Patterson told the Observer that, in recent months, his only source of help had been his neighbour, who heard of his
plight and had been visiting him daily to provide food.
“When I heard of his situation I decided that I could not allow him to suffer, and as a result I try to provide assistance in the form of food and other items,” said the female neighbour, who asked not to be named.
She said she would have tried to help him in other areas but has been unable to do so because of her own financial situation.
The man’s sister, 80-year-old Eileen Patterson, who is also partially blind, said she had also tried to provide some help for her ailing sibling, but admitted that she could do so much and no more.
“I try my best for years. I have been providing food for him and assisting in other areas, but things reach a stage where I just can’t help any further,” she said.
Newton Amos, the new candidate selected by the Jamaica Labour Party to contest the St Catherine North-Western constituency, in which Jericho is located, said he recently visited Patterson and was disturbed by what he had seen.
“It is indescribable. What exists is actually scandalous that we allowed one of our own to be living in conditions such as this,” said Amos, a retired police superintendent.
Amos said Patterson’s case was just one of several he had been told about and had been working on.