Sun | Dec 17, 2017

'I had no one' - Part one of a story about how a former homeless orphan overcame despair and achieved breakthrough

Published:Thursday | November 2, 2017 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey

His twenty-two years on earth have been far from favourable, having been abused, taken from his mother - who later died in the saddest way possible - separated from his sister, rendered homeless and growing up with no knowledge of his father's whereabouts.

*Brian Wright was born in Montego Bay and later moved with his mother and sister to Balaclava in St Elizabeth. He said according to his mother, his father died; but that is a story he is yet to confirm.

"I have never seen my father; I don't know if it's because I left Montego Bay where he is from," Wright relates. "I have tried to find him by asking people who should know; but, after a while, I just stopped because if I go some places and night falls, I can't stop over."

Wright told Rural Xpress that his mother withdrew herself from the public, suffered from mental instability and fell into depression - losing the ability to properly care for her children.

"Some people took us in because they saw the condition. I have been struggling from I was a little boy going to primary school," Wright recounted. "I used to steal bottles and sold them to get lunch money, and somebody saw me one day and told me to stop."

He continued: "I lived with these people from I was age twelve until I was about fifteen. The lady at the house adopted other children, but they were much better off (than me) because they had relatives who would come and look for them."

Wright revealed that he asked constantly to visit his mother but he was just never brought to see her. By the time he was able to get to the house, his mother had died and only an unbearable stench, her maggot-infested remains and vultures flying nearby greeted him"

"My mother was on my mind constantly; I wanted to go and look for her, but as child I couldn't just take taxi and go," he said. "Even though I was still in St Elizabeth I was quite a distance from her, and I begged the lady I was staying with to call CDA (Child Development Agency) or the police to accompany me to see my mother, but she never did."

He continued in a sad tone: "I didn't see my mother for years and I know she sat and fret on those things. One day after coming from the river where I used to catch fish, the lady I was staying with told me that my mother passed. It was the first time I was seeing my mother for years, I couldn't even recognise her. It's her pretty hair why I knew it was her. I cried later at the home but when I saw her I couldn't even cry."

Wright revealed that all of this happened around the time that he had left junior high school and was about to start another secondary institution. He added that he had no family around him to offer support, except an uncle that visited him once.

Things did not get better for the young man and soon he was on his own, without a home and battling to survive.

"Relatives of the lady who took me in would come to the house and talk to me a certain way and slap my face," he recounted. "I never did anything, but just find a corner; but one day I fought back and eventually I had to leave and my sister was sent to Montego Bay. It's about seven years that I have not seen or heard from my sister. I had no one," lamented Wright.

The streets became his home, and life as he knew it was centred around cardboard boxes and begging.

In part two of this article, we will share with readers how life unfolded for Brian Wright.

* Name changed upon request