A higgler’s life … Audrey Williams fighting the odds
MAY PEN, Clarendon:
There are times when the thought of giving up has crossed Audrey Williams' mind, but she has 12 precious reasons not to give in to the temptation.Williams told Rural Xpress that selling on the street side is not her ideal choice of employment, but it is much better than sitting at home and bemoaning her lot in life.
A mother of six children, she lovingly embraced six more after the death of her beloved sister.
With her sole means of earnings being the items of clothing she sells at the front of Young's Plaza in Clarendon, she said that is what she uses to put food on the table for all of them.
"My sister died six years ago and it's just the little selling, and believe me, sometimes I have days of tears," she said.
According to Williams, from what she sells, it covers 'a little'.
"But I have to budget and keep a tight rein on the spending. I mostly focus on essentials," she told Rural Xpress.
Then there are the days when she just does not have the funds to send any of them to school.
It is not a situation she accepts, but for Williams, it is what it is.
"It makes me very depressed , as I know they are not getting the best support," she said.
Among the schools the children attend are Vere Technical High, Central High, Beulah All-Age and May Pen Primary.
Williams said it is even harder for her as some of the younger children do not understand her situation, although she tries to make them aware that she is doing her best.
"Right now, I am selling and I have to be on the lookout for the police, as there is no proper place set up for us to sell our stuff," she said.
Williams said her biggest challenge is when her goods are seized and sometimes she does not get them back.
"One of the times, I had to spend 10 days in jail because I was selling on the street side. It was back-to-school time. The biggest daughter had to help while I sat in jail and worried endlessly about them," she said. She is yet to get back the goods she lost or be compensated.
"There is no proper facility for people not selling food products in the market. We need somewhere, we are willing to pay a fee if there is a proper set-up," she said.
Williams who hails from Bucknor, is a past student of Central High School.
Describing herself as a "jack of all trades", Williams said she has done domestic work, hairdressing, and any other jobs that can assist in helping to take care of her children.
Williams' one plea is for the police, in carrying out their jobs, to treat them as human beings.
"Two weeks ago, one of them stepped up on the goods shoes and clothes. They need to have respect for us, we are not criminals, we are just looking something to help our children," she said.