Wed | Dec 6, 2023

No water, no problem

Published:Tuesday | March 30, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Residents of Garlands, St James, collect water from a stream in the community. - Ian Allen Staff/Photogrpaher

With the persistent drought and all the water restrictions in place, people are getting a little testy. Not being able to enjoy some of life's simple pleasures, like having a shower more than once per week or watering the plants to keep them looking healthy have put people on edge. But this isn't the case everywhere. In a quiet, out-of-the-way community called Garlands in the hills of St James, life's simple pleasures continue, unabated. Don't get me wrong. They have no running water either, but to the residents of this cool farming community, pleasure is found in communal conversations at night, flying home-made kites on windy weekday mornings and, as is the case right now, preparing for the upcoming Easter holidays.

"We never have water yet, so we nuh mind! It affect di farmer dem, for dem need di water, but dem man deh know how fi tun dem hand mek fashion, so dem find way round dem problem deh," said Rory, a 30-something-year-old carpenter who lives in a small but neatly constructed wooden home by the side of the road that runs through Garlands. "We never did have running water from mawning, so we can't vex now. Dem people ah town did have life easy. Now when di likkle drought reach dem everybody ah bawl. Heh hey! What a sinting," said Rory, grinning.

Water from streams

He told me that people in Garlands make use of nearby rivers and a stream in the valley for their water. Because there aren't many people living there, this still works for them. Luckily, even with the drought, these sources haven't given out on them and life continues normally.

"If yuh never come ask about di drought and water, mi wouldn't even did memba pan it," said Rory. While we were speaking, a light-skinned woman with reddish brown hair walked up. She had wrinkles around her eyes and freckles on her cheeks. "Den Rory, yuh done wash di tree dem? Memba Pastor seh him want it done before night," she yelled.

"Alright Miss Mag, ah talking wid di gentleman and den ah getting back to it," said Rory with a hint of frustration. "Di gentleman can wait!" the woman declared. "If Pastor come back from town and di tree dem nuh done wash, yuh goose cook!"

Rory left

Rory mumbled something under his breath then muttered: "Alright, Miss Mag. Mi going back up deh now." He rolled his eyes, told me he had to go, then walked off. Miss Mag stood looking at me, her arms akimbo.

"So what you doing around here now?" she asked with one eyebrow raised.

"Me? Oh I was just ... "

"Yes man. Yuh come fi talk to Rory, but Rory have work fi do. Him nuh have time fi deh labrishing today. Not today. Easter is coming and we all working on di church, so Rory need to be working," said Miss Mag.

I told her I understood. "Well good Sah. We have di big Easter weekend coming up so di church ground have to bush and whitewash," she said. I asked her if she was looking forward to the weekend.

"Oh yes, man!" she said with eyes wide. She seemed suddenly excited.

"Easter time is very important yuh know. Yuh go church? Anyway I know I will see you on Friday. Easter is very important and we must all take time and fellowship during this time," she said. Then Miss Mag started looking me over from head to toe. "Only ungrateful and bad-mind people would know that Easter is coming and not plan to find dem bahind inside a church fi give thanks! Anyway, I know I will see you again on Friday, so move along now, move along."