Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Blind man begs for skills training

Published:Monday | September 29, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Joseph Burgher

Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer

Due to glaucoma, the life of 47-year-old Joseph Burgher has taken a sharp turn for the worst as he faces several obstacles that the disabled encounter on a daily basis.

Burgher, who is a resident of Yallahs, St Thomas, completely lost his sight in 2010.

"Before that, I used to be a labourer, whether it was a gardener, painter, or jus do some construction-site work. Mi did always active an deh all over di place," he told The Gleaner.

"Ever since di day when mi lose mi sight, life jus' change wicked. I been to several hospitals and clinics since then, but them cyaa do nutten. They said I had to live with it. I don't even know where my next meal is coming from more time. I try my best not to think 'bout it nuff because dem t'ing deh depress people, but, Jah know, life hard," Burgher continued.


Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions resulting in optic-nerve damage which may cause loss of vision.

Burgher said that he was diagnosed with the disease in April of 2010, and by October of that year, he lost his sight. He told The Gleaner that he has moved from being a labourer to a mendicant.

He said, however, that he would relish any opportunity to be trained in any area, especially agriculture, in order for him to earn his bread.

"If there is anything I can do, is some agriculture. I can peel and plant if I get used to the place. I am not on a professional level, but with the proper training, I can improve. All I want is some help," Burgher said.

According to the blind man, he has had to put pride aside and beg for a living - something he wants to stop doing.


Burgher said he frequently takes the public transportation from St Thomas to the Corporate Area in order to beg for his sustenance.

"I position myself by the Tastee in Half-Way Tree and just sit there wid my cup and crate that I sit on. I don't want to, but I have to beg as I cannot do nothing else, and I have to survive," he said.

He further said that even the journey from St Thomas is hell, as most public-transport operators refuse to accommodate him.

"Sometimes mi stand up by the bus stop for hours, from all 7 o'clock to 1 o'clock. More time, people affi beg fi mi before a bus operator or taxi man decide fi carry me. Even one time, mi a guh inna di bus and di conductor kick me off a di stairs. Flat pon mi back mi drop. Then after all a dat, him a say mi fi dead 'cause mi done blind and my time come already," he added.