Dreaded walk through Condom Alley
Each day I begin my dreaded walk through Condom Alley in Kingston, Jamaica. This is a passageway that is most often used as a rear access or service road (back lane) running from the main thoroughfare of Oxford Road.
Potholes created from chemical waste. Condom wrappers and used condoms cast aside with what we would deem human biological waste (from both male and female). Baby wipes fully decorated with lipstick marks and other stains. Shoes abandoned on the roadside. Wigs discarded and cardboards serving as makeshift chairs or beds.
All this is on display as you walk along Ripon Road and Eureka Road in Kingston 5.
As early as 5 p.m., merchants come out displaying their wares in various modes of undress. Mesh stockings, panties and brassieres are the order of the day and night on roads that legitimate business people rush to avoid as evening draws near.
Home to several state agencies, financial institutions, medical complexes, restaurants and a popular adult entertainment venue, Ripon and Eureka Roads are recognised and touted as a haven of prostitution, not belonging to the general public after dark, and even sometimes before dark.
MOUNTAINS AND VALLEYS
In a forgotten state of disrepair, the sidewalks have now become rugged mountains and valleys, through which no sensible female would dare wear an expensive stiletto, nor would a man wear his best Sunday shoes. Woe be unto able-bodied pedestrians, much less persons with disabilities.
It takes a much energised level of concentration to fathom the journey each day, and to set out the various routes to be taken through the holes in the sidewalk.
Aside from ad hoc pothole repair for one specific crater created by waste from a popular company, no worthwhile attention has been given to this part of Kingston as civic pride has taken flight. Even the elected officials seem wary of traversing these parts.
One may suggest that with customers from all walks of life and boasting some high-level clientele or patronage, the streets should be able to pay for itself. However, trapped in the underground economy, this supposed income-generating activity, albeit illegal, will never see the light of day. Supported by advocates of commercial sex workers who distribute boxes of condoms in its bid to stem the spread of HIV and curb unwanted pregnancies and venereal diseases, there is no real concern over whether the streets are littered with bedroom paraphernalia.
Brushed aside by legislative influencers who from time to time may feast on the dainties being offered, the problem is not going away any time soon, as all and sundry may be in bed with each other at some point or the other.
Located in the vicinity of several schools, this garbage is a stark reality of what is offered to our children by a society which sometimes turns a blind eye to matters which concern them and might fester.
As it draws closer to the season of goodwill, we call on the authorities to revisit Ripon and Eureka Road, especially at 6 a.m. or 6 p.m.
Most times, it is what we allow to gradually happen that we ultimately become. I hope next time, possibly in 2015, to walk on a street with a proper sidewalk made for pedestrians, and a road befitting of the many institutions which it boasts.