Wed | Dec 1, 2021

Kareem’s Quest: Joy finds a home in Whitehouse

Published:Friday | April 30, 2021 | 12:06 AMKareem LaTouche/Gleaner Writer
 Joy at her stall in Whitehouse, Westmoreland.
Joy at her stall in Whitehouse, Westmoreland.
I got some great items from Joy, especially the pear.
I got some great items from Joy, especially the pear.
A map showing the location of Whitehouse, Westmoreland.
A map showing the location of Whitehouse, Westmoreland.

One of the most exciting places to be in any district is the square, where all the commercial activities take place. Whitehouse in Westmoreland is no different. There is a broad roadway, which runs through the town and is flanked by commuters on both sides. As I approached one of the corner shops, at about 9 a.m., a delivery truck was unloading 50-pound bags of rice, which was executed by two men. One stood on the ground, while the other stayed in the back of the truck and threw the bags down.

At this point, approaching me was a voluptuous woman in a neon-green outfit clinging to her body, with every thread doing its best to keep the seams together. Her look was completed by laced-up slippers, a handbag, with the strap over her right shoulder, and a shoulder-length wig. With eyes laser-focused on her path ahead and her mouth aggressively chewing gum, she walked briskly, to the delight of the men around her.

While passing the delivery truck, the man in the back, who had a great vantage point, made his overture while throwing his bag of rice. “Baby, yuh baddy healthy, come mek me give you a talk nuh.”

This seemed to have angered his co-worker, as the bag fell short of its trajectory, landing on his toes instead of in his hands. “Oye sah, look wha yuh a duh! Yuh ah try bruck mi foot?”

The two men then began arguing. I quickly passed them and made a right on to a lane, where most of the produce vendors were. In my direct line of sight was a lady with short, blonde hair, full lips and high cheekbones, resembling the facial structure of a South African. Her stall was jam-packed with goods, so she made an outside display for easier access for persons like myself.

In a bid to break the ice, I stated, “Why your hairstyle have to look so hot?”

She answered with a smirk, “Because I am a hot girl.”

After revealing her name and telling me the prices of her produce, I asked Joy where was she from.“I am originally from Tivoli, where I attended Tivoli Gardens Comprehensive High School.”

Surprised, I said, “Really! That’s a far way from here. What was the experience like?”

She replied, “In high school, I was very skinny, so they called me ‘Chicken’, plus I used to play on the netball team. But my biggest passion was cooking; I used to run that class. It was one of my favourite subjects. It was one of the five JSC (Jamaica School Certificate) subjects I passed, [the others being] maths, history, biology and English.”

With such a clear passion, I asked, “Why didn’t you continue with cooking?”

She answered pleasantly, “I used to just love cooking at school, but as I got older, I moved from Kingston and started doing other things like this.”

During our conversation, I started picking out some fruits and took up a native coconut, which piqued her interest. “That one is a great choice if you plan to cook rice and peas. It’s going to give you a lot of milk; just make sure you blend it properly. When I went to school, I used to cook for all the big functions, and rice and peas was a must.”

We continued with our trip down memory lane while I selected some ground provisions, which she weighed and bagged for me. Being the consummate salesperson, she left me with a few parting words. “Walk good, and don’t forget to come back.”

For comments and feedback, email, or visit

Who is it for: People who love organic food.

Tip: Try to beat the midday rush. I would recommend 10 a.m. as a good time to visit.

What stands out: The colourful vendors; each person has a story of their own.

What to carry: Money in small denominations.

Must-try food: Pineapple or soursop when in season.

Location: Whitehouse, Westmoreland