Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer
THEY SAY behind every good man there is a strong woman, but Ann Lindo, the optimistic five-star needle worker from New Acres Mandeville, is here to dispel that notion, replacing it with the notion that God at the centre equals a strengthened woman.
With vim, vitality, and vigour, Lindo, who has been crocheting for approximately 44 years, speaks with unparalleled enthusiasm and no regrets.
"I grew up in Trench Town and then later moved to Whitfield Town in Kingston. It was there that I met the mother of Bunny from Mighty Diamonds, Miss Monica, Mitchell, who taught me the art of crocheting, and since age seven, I have been crocheting," Lindo told Rural Xpress.
After completing high school, Lindo's love for design and fashion saw her enrolling in the Hollywood School of Fashion and Design, where she received a diploma and then later a certificate for course completion in fashion and design from the University of Technology.
"I was working as secretary-accountant at the JD Baillie Realty Company in Kingston. I realised this little money was just not going to cut it. I was still doing my crochet on the side, but now I felt it was time to enter fully into my passion," said Lindo.
In 1983, when Lindo took a leap of faith from the area into which she had forayed, she entered the Jamaica 21 festival competition with a piece that took her one year to complete: the words of the National Pledge crocheted along with two humming birds and the national flag. That was a sight to behold!
"I won a gold medal for it. I was indeed proud of my accomplishments. It was later brought to Bolivar Gallery by radio announcer, Ralston McKenzie, who had it mounted on a scroll-like structure for showcasing," she told Rural Xpress.
"While doing my crocheting, I was quite content. I even did designs for government officials, international actors, and media practitioners, but I felt I needed to start travelling, so I went all over Grand Cayman, Curaçao and, of course, America. When I went there, my family members would ask me to do (crochet) stuff for them."
Of all the travelling done, Lindo would soon find a 1998 trip to Queens, New York, to be an eternal life changer.
"I had an unfortunate encounter in New York. I was date-raped and got pregnant against my will," Lindo said.
The ordeal, which Lindo says, did not dampen her spirit, was the beginning of numerous trials that she would need to strengthen her faith to overcome.
"Three months into the pregnancy, the amniotic fluid sac burst and doctors told me I had a 50/50 chance of a safe birth. I had serious pains and swellings in my hand, which had to be in a semi-cast, and I was told it was carpal tunnel syndrome because the baby was resting on a particular nerve. I was bedridden for two and a half months and so ended up staying and having my baby in New York," Lindo recalled.
Six weeks after the birth of her daughter, Lindo returned to Jamaica, but the skills to further her passion had left her, and over a two-year period, she had to learn crocheting all over again.
Reach out to people
"It made me bitter. I became depressed, and I just beckoned to God for help and continued my efforts each day, and He did help me. It took me about four to five full years before truly coming back," she said.
Lindo, who has been living in Mandeville since 2002, has been using her work to reach out to people.
"I started this business, Annemar Creative Designs, officially about three years ago. Business hasn't been as fast as I would have loved it, but I'm hoping it will reach the point where I can employ others. I want to have clothing lines and numerous stores, and I'm placing it all in God's hands," she said.
"I can remember clearly once I visited a community and spoke to some girls and I gave away about 20 pairs of earrings ... I'm a single mother. It's tough, but you have to at times think about others and put away self," said Lindo.
It is her hope to pursue a bachelor of science degree in counselling to further help the persons she comes into contact with daily.