Wed | Aug 5, 2020

Bull Bay man tired of living like a rat

Published:Monday | July 13, 2020 | 12:26 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Rohan Lawrence’s falling house in Bull Bay, St Thomas, is being held up by a tree.
Rohan Lawrence’s falling house in Bull Bay, St Thomas, is being held up by a tree.

Living “like a rat” for almost a month now has brought nothing but frustration to 48-year-old Rohan Lawrence.

The roof of the humble board structure he calls home in Bull Bay, St Thomas, was damaged some time ago after a truck hit a light pole, which came crashing down on his house.

Things got worse last month as just before Father’s Day, heavy winds rocked his house, pitching it towards the main road, with only a tree preventing it from hitting the asphalt.

“A long time mi live yah, man. More than 20 years,” Lawrence told The Gleaner. “Mi a try raise two goat, and di man dem tief weh di whole a di goat dem, and right away, the place tumble dung. A mi brethren mi go check a while ago and him give mi couple piece a two-by-four and a sistren give mi da sheet a ply deh.”

He has been trying to erect a new structure “weh mi bed can go inna and take time gwaan deal wid sumn”, he said.

“Mi feel like a rat. Mi down and out, and mi feel like nobody at all. As a young man, mi nuh waa live suh. A never mi aim this,” he said.

Frighteningly, Lawrence occasionally sleeps inside the precariously perched house and sometimes spends the night on the roof of his mother’s house nearby, which he said is a “cold” experience.

He reported frequent misfortune, claiming to have had 12 of his 13 goats stolen. The one that remained is now lame after being attacked by dogs. He shared, too, that he tried many years ago to find another location to call home, but after buying 500 blocks to start erecting a concrete structure, he lost his job, and things went downhill from there. Roughly 150 of the blocks have also been stolen.

“Mi affi tek a rough life smooth and just make it look like nothing, but deep down, God knows,” he said. “A di tree hold up the house. ... The experience is rough. Mi can’t pay rent because mi nah work, so mi just gwaan cowboy it out.”

Pointing out that he has the remaining 350 blocks, along with some cement and a bit of wood, Lawrence said he would be grateful for any further assistance to build a new home at a nearby location.

“I would really like to put up a structure so I can be comfortable and can plant a one banana tree, and dem thing deh, because nothing can’t grow yah suh. There is no privacy. Mi affi get mi youth so mi can know seh me a man. Every man want a youth, regardless. Me just want something comfortable. It nuh affi big,” he said.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com