Sun | Nov 29, 2020

Passion, persistence and promise –Nickolette Waugh’s testimony

Published:Saturday | June 15, 2019 | 12:14 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Nicolette Waugh
Nicolette Waugh

Manchester, Jamaica:

So, you grew up with your parents, completed high school, maybe even made it to college. This is basically how life pans out for most individuals, particularly young females, right?

Wrong!

Like too many to make mention of, Nickolette Waugh experienced the horrors of growing up without her parents, living with relatives that abused her, dropping out of high school and having to find ways to make ends meet.

But her life is not one to be pitied; instead, it is to be admired, emulated and used as an example for every little girl sitting with thoughts of giving up.

“Growing up was mostly sad for me. I didn’t grow up with my parents around. My mother got the chance to go to England, and she took it so she could be better able to provide for my siblings and I. She left me with my father when I was two, and I stayed with him until age seven. Then it was to my aunt’s house and life there was really hard. My siblings and I were treated like strangers, or personal slaves. We were both physically and mentally abused. My happiest times were in school and when I had the chance to speak with my mom.”

A brilliant student that secured a quiz championship and a scholarship upon leaving primary school, Waugh said she did not see what to her was her biggest setback coming.

“The most devastating setback I’ve faced to date is not finishing high school because of financial constraints. That really put a damper on my life in terms of employment and more opportunities.”

However, Waugh explained that she got over the disappointment by always following up on every possible opportunity and going into it with a positive mindset.

“I believe that whatever you are constantly thinking about, that’s the outcome that you are going to get.”

That is why the young entrepreneur today has a viable business that has potential to grow exponentially.

hungry for change

“I started the Nicky’s Farm Store because I have always loved farming, but the going out in the field and all of that didn’t really appeal to me. No one in my area was doing what I am now doing – a few shopkeepers sell feeds, but I didn’t stop there. I believe in variety, and so what I did was I went around my community, found out what farmers were using on their farms, and I sourced those products – I will eventually source more as my business continues to grow. I also started this because it was either this or continue to do bartending that was paying below minimum wage. I was so hungry for a change, and that’s why I’ve latched on to this one with both hands and teeth,” she told Family & Religion, laughing.

The young entrepreneur said her entrepreneurial challenges, coupled with her medical struggles, can be overwhelming at times, but she is happy for the people in her life, particularly her mother who helps her keep hope alive.

“I suffer from a combination of migraine and cluster headaches for which the doctors can’t find the root cause. Brain scans, blood tests, full body scans, you name it, I’ve done it. The pain is so terrible that it leaves me bedridden at times. The worst part is the medications that I get oftentimes only work once. The only thing that really gives me relief is going to the ER and getting injections.”

She added, “I really think it’s just the grace of God that has helped me to persevere through all of this, and I also have my mother who has helped me a lot when I’m in pain and can’t sleep. Even though she’s not here physically, she’s on the phone with me trying to talk me through the pain until I fall asleep, no matter what time.”

The lover of books and follower of motivational speaker Les Brown, Waugh said her aim is to be successful in achieving all the things she intends to.

“I see myself reaching the level of financial freedom; I see my business expanding to at least three more locations; I see myself not working in my business any more but working on it. I see myself helping my mother, who has worked so hard and long, out of poverty, as well as my siblings. And most importantly, I see myself being happy and healthy,” she said.

Waugh, who once had aspirations of becoming a teacher or a caterer, said she realises that all the turns her life made was to make what she now experiences possible.

“My biggest accomplishment to date was being chosen by the NGO (non -governmental organisation) Young Women of Purpose, (YWOP) for the grant that launched my business. Now I aspire to be free, free from poverty. And YWOP has given me the perfect opportunity to do so,” she ended.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com