A woman, who gave her name as Vinnett Prince, has not allowed her physical limitations to conquer her instinct to survive.
A national identification card, which she takes around in a handbag, identifies her as ‘Vinnett Richards’. It also shows that she will turn 61 early next month – June 12, to be exact.
When The Beacon saw Prince a few days ago in the town of Bog Walk, St. Catherine, she noted that she has been unable to walk from as far back as she can remember.
As a result of that, she has mastered the art of travelling on her bottom and both palms.
To protect her palms from being bruised while moving around, she places them in slippers.
Prince said she lives alone in the rural community of Sandy Gut, located in the Riversdale area of St. Catherine.
“If mi sick at night, nobody not there fi hot water for mi. Mi just lie down till mi feel better,” she commented.
Her dearest friends, she added, are her two dogs and some stray chickens.
“A me and mi two dogs live,” Prince explained.
“Sometimes stranger fowl come there. When mi reach home [in the evenings], the fowl fly off dem roost and come fi feeding. As mi taxi stop, dem start mek noise.”
Prince has been struggling to feed not only her animals, but also herself.
She indicated that the financial assistance she gets from Government is almost negligible. “Mi get little Poor List money, but it don’t have any use to mi,” she said.
She also claimed that her family does not support her.
Prince has four biological children – two sons and two daughters, who are now adults.
According to her, one daughter lives abroad, one of her sons lives in Manchester, and the other son resides in the Bog Walk area.
Prince revealed that she did not raise her children.
“A people tek care a dem,” she said. “Mi mother grow the biggest one.”
With no one adequately providing for her, Prince sometimes does odd jobs.
“Mi goh wash fi people an dem pay mi – and mi clean people house and bill dem yard,” she said.
Prince further stated that, when she is not working for relatively small payment, she lives at the mercy of people especially in Bog Walk town.
She disclosed that she also travels sometimes to other major towns.
Travelling can be a big challenge, especially considering that some motorists are reluctant to transport Prince.
Others are kind-hearted. “Sometime mi nuh have nuh fare an dem carry mi without fare,” Prince said.
One motorist in the Bog Walk area, Narval Harris, better known as ‘Byron’, told The Beacon that he does not leave Prince stranded.
“Most of the taxi nuh want carry her because of her condition, but mi can’t leave her,” he said. “She haffi come out [in the street] to look it.”
Considering the importance of transportation to her daily hustle, Prince ensures that her attire is as clean as possible.
She does not usually board taxis in the same shorts that she wears while moving about the streets on her buttocks.
Prince said, when she is in the streets, some people are kind to her – kind enough to ensure she does not starve.
“Mi come out [in the street] and people give mi money, and mi buy mi food,” she said, adding that some people, including the Bog Walk Police, give her food items.
Prince further explained that she was offered a wheelchair, but she is unable to maneuver it.
“Mi can’t manage the wheelchair weh dem a give mi; dem a give mi one weh dem squeeze at di side,” she commented.
Prince added that travelling on her bottom and palms often causes discomfort.
“It mek mi feel bad yes because sometime mi feel like mi want throw up, because mi haffi deh pon di hot road and so on. But, if mi nuh come out [of the home], mi nuh have nothing.”
While claiming that strangers take better care of her than her family, Prince said the house in which she lives in owned by a relative.
That house, she added, is in need of repairs.
“Mi want a good house fi live inna, because the house weh mi live in wet up when rain fall. The water soak on the wall and come down – wet up mi clothes dem,” Prince lamented.
Despite the house being in a state of disrepair, Prince made it clear that she prefers to live there than at any of the Government’s infirmaries.
She said: “Dem want carry mi goh poor house, and mi nuh want goh. Mi want stay a my yawd; mi better off when mi deh a mi yawd.”
Prince, in the meantime, said she has not allowed her physical challenge to cause mental anguish.
“Mi nuh worry bout mi sickness. Mi naah put it pon nuh practice; mi lef everything to God,” she told The Beacon.
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