A man, who has been living in squalor in a dilapidated hut on Clarke’s Avenue in Ewarton, St. Catherine, said he feels helpless now that he is on the verge of becoming fully homeless.
Samuel Johnson, better known as ‘Ricky’, who is unable to walk properly due to a medical condition, said a fire one year ago is the main reason for his terrible living condition.
He explained that the fire consumed the family house, which he and other relatives inherited and occupied comfortably on Clarke’s Avenue.
“If it wasn’t for the fire, we would be living there now,” said the 58-year-old.
Since he was displaced by the blaze, Johnson has been staying in an incomplete hut on his long-time neighbour’s property.
That neighbour has been building a house, and now needs the land on which the hut sits.
Johnson told The Beacon that the neighbour, who has been lenient with him, intends to demolish the hut this week, leaving him with nowhere to go.
He noted that, even if the structure was not being destroyed, he could not continue to live there.
He said the hut leaves him exposed to the elements, and it is infested with rats, roaches, and croaking lizards.
“Just imagine you lying down and croaking lizard jus dropping from the ceiling on yuh chest,” Johnson lamented.
“When the rain fall, mi haffi sit up all night. Everything wet up… Sometimes even mi foot wet up and start get smelly.”
Johnson, who does not even have a bed, is unable to move about comfortably due to medical issues affecting both of his feet.
He explained that two toes on his left foot have been amputated. The right foot has two relatively large sores that he has to dress at Ewarton Health Centre – sometimes five times per week.
“Mi can’t stand up without crutches,” added Johnson, who has been diagnosed with diabetes.
He disclosed that he does not have the necessary family support, and so he has turned to the public for assistance.
Johnson has four children – all sons.
One of them lives in the United Kingdom, but has not contacted him for years, he said.
He added that his other three sons, who live in Jamaica, are unable to assist him financially.
Johnson said the youngest son, who is 32, lives with him on Clarke’s Avenue. That son often sleeps outside the hut, he added.
He also said his youngest son does farming on a relatively small scale, and so he does not earn enough from it. “Him have a pig that have 10 pigs, an dem thief three of them few days ago,” Johnson lamented.
He told The Beacon that people in and around his community have promised to assist him, but those promises have remained mere promises.
“Mi hope that somebody out there would see and try fi assist me in any way they can. I would be so grateful, and pray that God will strengthen me so that one day I can do something for them too,” Johnson further commented.
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