Wed | Jan 26, 2022

St Catherine residents ‘tun han mek fashion’

Published:Thursday | April 23, 2020 | 12:12 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer
Antonette York (left) and Mavis Lobban, residents of Zion Hill in St Catherine, speaking about the St Catherine lockdown on Sunday.
Antonette York (left) and Mavis Lobban, residents of Zion Hill in St Catherine, speaking about the St Catherine lockdown on Sunday.

On Saturday, Antonnete York left her home in Zion Hill, St Catherine, with shopping bags and a grocery list for Bog Walk, the nearest town centre some five miles away. After spending a few hours waiting in line, she headed back home with the bags neatly folded as when she left and the shopping list undisturbed.

When The Gleaner team caught up with her on Sunday, she expressed concern about the chaotic crowding with people openly breaching the social-distancing rules in the mad rush to get food supplies. With the initial parish lockdown of seven days having started last week Wednesday, the next authorised shopping day was yesterday.

“The plan is to step out a little earlier so if we can leave about 7:30 and walk with more bags, but we naw get nuh more money because remember is one month seven days now since I have not been working,” she disclosed.

The displaced housekeeper is particularly concerned about getting infected with the coronavirus while mingling with a shopping public unconcerned with observing the recommended safe distance.

“Remember that is a lot of us turned back because anything can happen, and we a try fi protect ourselves and our families, so we turned back. So like how me have it in the back of my mind seh me want go back out early, other people will have it in mind to go out earlier, so it is likely to be the same thing all over again.”


Meanwhile, Mavis Lobban, who has things under control at the home base when her niece is away, has a hard time with the constant need to sanitise the house on a regular basis, which has increased her workload. And then there is a host of grandchildren, nieces and nephews to manage, and they add a whole new dimension to her responsibilities.

“The little things weh inna the house the pickney them eat it out. Every five minutes them say them hungry and no money is around. Is my son look after me and him work at a call centre and it lock down, so you know how it go. So is a good thing seh we have likkle banana and you see the breadfruit tree deh, so we can gwaan with a thing mek fashion.”

She then goes on to explain how they utilise everything by cooking a one-pot meal.

“We cook the breadfruit inna coconut milk, grate the coconut and strain if off and put the pot pon the fire, and me knead the dumpling with piece a salt fish and cook it dung, and we do like we curry and a jug a lemonade fi keep the pickney dem fi the day.”

The uncertainty about how long the lockdown of St Catherine as well as the COVID-19 pandemic will last has Lobban worried about how they will survive, but she is giving thanks for the small mercies which have already come her way.

“A my church people give me a little grocery Friday, so thank God I was going to church because see me niece go a Bog Walk and she haffi come back because she could get nutten.”