Shawn Ferguson – beating the odds
This is the final in the series of articles on 'a higgler's life'.
Determination and resilience are two traits that propel mother-of-four Shawn Ferguson.
As smile flashed across her face as Rural Xpress approached her sitting beside her Toyota motor car, in the shade of a big tree. She pointed to the market produce in the back of the car.
She has been selling from that comfortable spot in the Gateway Plaza, Old Harbour, for four years and although there are times "it doesn't quite add up", she said she is content.
"Life is not perfect. But you will never catch me out there begging or looking for a handout. I am a trying person and will go the extra mile to take care of my children," she said.
Ferguson, who hails from Church Pen, St Catherine, and attended Horizon Park All-Age School, said she has worked as a cashier and a conductress.
"I did that (conducting) for eight years," she said, adding that things soon fell part as she found it difficult financially to ensure she had her badge. This resulted in her being locked up.
It was then that she decided to try her hand at the taxi business, but soon found out it was a costly venture.
"I operated a 'robot taxi' and it was working out for a while until Transport Authority seized the car," she said.
After digging deep to reclaim the car, Ferguson said it was time to go to 'Plan B' - selling produce from the back of the car.
"It doesn't really work out sometimes, but I have to help myself. I can't sit down and depend on people. I am not one to sit and beg and wait and complain. God helps those who help themselves," she said.
Ferguson, whose eldest child attends Portmore Community College pursuing a course in electrical engineering, also has two children in high school and one in primary school. She said there is no sacrifice too great for her children.
"I want to see them make it in life. I want them to accomplish what I never did, so I am not going to complain," she said.
With a smile, she said it is not so bad selling from her "perfect" location.
"I get to sit under a shady tree; there is fresh air all around me and, best of all, I don't have to deal with the market stench."