The original ghetto was an accidental creation, it is the remnant of the original working class community that was sold the promise of prosperity if the tenants were to work hard and be good Christian citizens of their respective countries. These tenants were to be awakened by the reality of depression and lies, which then fueled anger, anger that was to be the catalyst of the now widely known ghetto mentality. Though there are people from those early days that were able to transcend the class gap, I put it to you that they are a minority and in most of those minor cases they were aided by special connections in government or unlawful activities, therefore families that were truly able to work their way to financial security did so outside the state’s promise of prosperity. In the case of the Jamaican working class, the majority of wealth by individual poor families were created abroad, making Jamaica a prime example of the deception sold to people in order to exploit their labor and ultimately usurp the citizens. This organism (the ghetto) was only allowed to grow when the business sector discovered that the spending power of low self esteem individuals were many times that of someone secure in their worth. Once a person subscribes to the belief that he/she has no future and has no idea of his/her self-worth, low self esteem takes residence in the mental thought process. The brain no longer thinks futuristically but only calculates in the moment, which is natural when your needs are as basic as food, clean water and a clean place to rest your head. I mean; if you cannot imagine yourself living to see old age or living a life outside the ghetto with financial security how would your mind work? Ever since the organism known as the ghetto was given acceptance, it has self perpetuated and ghettos outside of state design began to spring up, which were then used by the state to maintain power but at the same time the state drained all resources form these underprivileged communities.
Here is an example of how England effectively controls the emergence and potential growth of ghettos. When ever a community falls behind the desired socially acceptable standards, this community is offered to the highest bidder for redevelopment, effectively raising the community to the ground and starting all over again. The law abiding tenants of the community are given the option to remain in the newly developed community and the rise in living standard also raises the self esteem and ultimately the behavior of the tenant (what we respect we treat with respect). In the case of tenants known for behavior contrary to the community, if they do not own property they have no chance of remaining and if they do they are only allowed to remain with the knowledge they will be treated with zero tolerance. The welfare of the community is paramount, not a property owner. In this case no community is allowed to slide too far below the socially accepted standard, (if you allow people to live like animals they will start behaving like animals) therefore everyone believes it is possible to raise their living standards, even if this is a deception the people (slaves) are kept in humane living conditions. I use to live without such basic amenity as a toilet, this would not be tolerated in certain countries, besides the obvious health risks; what do you think is done to the mind when it is forced to give up its dignity? Other countries have poor people, but their leaders are unwilling to allow the mentality of the people to become so poor that it becomes detrimental to the country. Because you are poor is no excuse to be living without certain basic amenities, or to have too poor a mentality.
Poor people spends the most, poor people keep rich people rich, this is the only reason poverty is tolerated, so it would be fair to say the slaves of our time are poor people. But let’s examine this briefly; most of the riches made in this world are made off the backs of poor people, but at what expense are these riches being achieved? At the expense of our freedom and tranquility, why do you think crime rises as people get poorer? A man makes a substantial amount of money and with that money he is empowered and he wants the finer things in life but he has to be vigilant at all times, security is paramount. he has to live in a well secured neighborhood or he runs the risk of loosing his valuables or worst still, his life. Maybe the ghetto has left me with permanent brain damage but I think that is all stupid. I mean, where is the fun in that, wouldn’t it be best to have less material possessions but more humanly connections? I admit I am from the ghetto so I might not be as smart as you are but I don’t think one person has to be above or below another, but let us entertain the argument that poor people contribute the most to the economy and are vital to (GDP). Ghettos on the other hand are something totally different. Ghettos are a clear demonstration of contempt by the upper classes of a country to the poorest citizens of the same country and for this reason it is time we stop wearing the ghetto as a badge of honor and kill it. Kill the ghetto mentality, it is time to wake up and force your political representatives to end the abuse of billions of people, our poor children deserve better. There are different financial classes in every country but the deplorable conditions people are forced to live in because they are at the lowest representation of finance is genocide.
This book is dedicated to my mother; she is also my father, my role model, my best friend, my mentor and the model I am trying to perfect. The stories contained in this book are true. I would like to shed light on the types of abuse children are subjected to in the ghettos of the world. I am not of the belief that my stories are special or the worst that could possibly happen in a ghetto community to a child, because I was never shot or burnt, neither was I subjected to physical sexual abuse, though I was sexualized at an early age and that in it’s self is sex abuse. I was only protected from the total onslaught of the ghetto because my mother gave it her best, she chose to stay and fight by her children’s side. I thank you. I would also like this piece of literature to serve as information for the people outside of the ghetto that perpetuate the ghetto without fully knowing what goes on in the ghetto. The ghetto is fashionable but it is a bad reflection on us, we should be ashamed of ourselves.
Sun Light Street
“Leave her alone, you are always looking for someone to mess around. Every time you come around you always bring negative vibes. You are only picking on Morander because you know she won’t fight you. Are you willing to kill the girl over rubbish, can’t you see she is not defending herself?” Mother asked.
“Hey, who do you think you are?” asked Annie “don’t you know better than to come into my argument, don’t you know I will kill you?” asked the deranged woman after giving Morander some horrendous blows from her machete. Someone threw a machete to my mother with such perfect timing; you would have thought it was a scene from a big budget movie. As soon as my mother let go of me she caught the machete and blocked a lunging attack from crazy lady from hell before I fell to the ground. Someone quickly scooped me up; I could see blood streaming down the side of my mothers face. I was not sure what was happening but I was sure it was not good. It was a fierce machete fight for what seemed to me an eternity, but then suddenly the crazy woman begun to run and my mother wasn’t hesitant to give chase. They disappeared in the darkness of the night to the sound of the now large crowed screaming at my mother not to follow her, “it’s a trap don’t let her trick you, she is leading you across the border, her friends will ambush and kill you” Annie was screaming all kinds of profanities and promising the worst kind of death to my mother from within the darkness. When my mother emerged from the darkness she came straight for me, her face was bloody and she was crying but she was only concern about her baby. I was just happy to be with my mother again and even though I was only about two or three years old I can still remember the sense of relief I felt in that moment. That was my first vivid memory and it was the beginning of horrendous struggles to come.
Even though I cannot remember much about Sun Light Street I can remember a little about the lay out of the community, my aunty Karen, Morander and Annie, I will always remember Annie. Morander was not a member of my family but she might as well have been. The relationship between her and my mother and aunty was a great one. Especially after growing up and learning about relationships in the ghetto. It was that very relationship that sparked my first detailed memory. I was told I was no more than two but this is one memory I have never been able to forget.
As I said I could not remember much about Sun Light Street, my long term memory was not fully developed but I do remember my aunt Karen living with us by the gully, our house was very small, might have even been one room. I think Karen and Morander were the closest in the friendship between my mother my aunt and Morander. The community was completely made of zinc sheets (corrugated iron sheets) but the place was very clean, at least I know our yard was. Also I think the yard I was living in was a junk yard of some sort or a junk yard was on the lane I was living on because I keep remembering a very neatly kept junk yard.
Sun Light Street is a ghetto community different to no other ghetto in Jamaica. It’s hot violent and harsh for everyone. My mother gave birth to me in the adjoining community of Gem Road which is the street parallel to Sun Light. We had to move to Sun Light because my mom and dad weren’t getting on. Even though he was ten minutes away I have no memories of my dad in those early days.
The first yard we lived in on Waltham Avenue was almost a replica of Sunlight Street. I don’t have much memory of the house, I think it was made of wood but the yard was surrounded by zinc. I really don’t know how I remembered the episode between my mother and Annie so vividly because all other memories around that time are very spotty. However there is another memory from around that time I have never forgotten. Around that period in Jamaica the men who could afford it had Honda CB motor bikes. Mother and my aunt always got visits from a couple friends who were CB riders, sometimes they would take the children for rides to the end of the street and back, I was addicted to the short spins I used to get on the bikes so one day after getting one of my routine rides everyone went inside to talk but I was not done riding. I decided to climb onto the bike, oblivious to the obvious danger I stretched and held on to the seat with the intention of stepping onto the muffler as a way of climbing up to the seat. I could not have been more than three or four years of age so I had to stretch, but stretching was not enough so I had to lean on the bike to comfortably grab hold of the seat. Before really grabbing hold of the seat the muffler grabbed hold of my right thigh, the muffler was so hot it fused to my skin, it was the scream of death that alerted everyone who came running to my rescue just in time to prevent the bike falling on top of me. I was immediately rushed to the hospital, there they treated my severely burnt thigh and gave my mother instructions on how to treat my leg and when to return for follow up treatment. After that ordeal I did not run to the motor bikes whenever they pulled up at the gate anymore, I had developed a sense of caution but I still wanted to be taken for spins occasionally. The wound on my leg took a very long time to heel and even after healing it was evident I would wear that scar for the rest of my life.
I can remember another yard that was heaven compared to Sun Light Street. This home was on the same street as our previous home, in the same community of Waltham. The yard had two houses plenty of yard to play and most importantly a mango tree, in front of our house. Also the yard looked like the type of yard people with money would live in. It was not surrounded with zinc fencing. I loved it. It was around this time I became aware of my bigger brother, he is three years older than I but I have no specific memories about him as yet but I am now conscious of my big brother. My mother was now pregnant with what was to be her first and only daughter. I have no specific memories but I am aware of our changes. My aunt also gave birth to a little girl; she was born a year after I was, her name was Man-Julia. I also remembered our nights being more comfortable, more lively and sociable. There were a couple of men especially and other people that came around regularly. One of the men was very nice to me and my brother, I found out later he was my mothers new boyfriend, he was also my little sister’s dad, unfortunately he died before my mother gave birth to his daughter. He was shot by the police, and like most shootings involving the police in Jamaica there are conflicting stories.
There was a lady living in the yard that was so nice to me you would think I was her child. Her name was Bomette and she was a woman very reminiscent of my mother. She was what I can remember as average height, very dark, pretty and had a big ass, and I mean that in the most respectful way possible. She had to have had a special ass for a child to remember it. Bomette was very liked in the community; she would take me and my bother out all the time. My mother would tell us stories of Bomette and a couple of the men taking us to the movies all the time. I can only remember one of these guys; his name was Peep-UP. He was small in stature dark and very nice to me and my brother. I remembered my brother and I being dressed in identical clothes all the time, people would always ask if we were twins, and the fact that we look alike didn’t help. There was also a lady named Miss Vadney she was an elder lady to my mother but her house was the only other house I can remember us going to. My mother is not the kind of person to go to people’s houses, so that means Miss Vadney was special plus the fact I remember her says a lot. For the time we were living on Waltham Avenue she was another mommy. I still go and visit her at times; she is a very nurturing lady.
I can also remember going to Sledge’s house to get mangoes, something that continued for years after leaving Waltham. Sledge was my mother’s friend before we came to live in Waltham I think; Sledge had a brother and a sister. They were the only people I knew growing up that had their own house. There are no other specific memories but if you knew me that would not be strange; I don’t have the best memory. It’s ironic but most of the people I’ve met out in the world and maintain a relationship with are from Waltham Park.
My next collection of memories is in a different community, by now I am around five years old. The community is Greenwich Town aka Greenage Farm. The name Greenwich Farm is from the old colonial days of slavery. Greenwich Town is a community by the sea, and was not better to live in, at first, but this community would be pivotal in my up bringing. This is where I would slowly unravel and the journey of becoming the man I am today would gain momentum. We rented a half of a house and there was not as much yard space as the yard in Waltham. Well the front of the yard had a nice enough appearance and I was excited about that, I was a child so I didn’t notice the zinc on one side and the back of the yard. One side of the yard had a very high wall which was the outside of a big shop and dwelling belonging to a Chinese family. Our yard also had two fruit trees; it had a Custard Apple tree in the front of the yard and a June plum tree to the side of the Chinese family’s yard. Well, the June plum tree was in the neighbor’s yard but in hung over our yard and anyways even if you lived on the next street you felt entitled to whatever fruit trees are in the community, that is an unwritten ghetto code.
Our kitchen toilet and bathroom were now outside and we had to share these amenities with the family on the other half of the house, we weren’t use to this and it took a little adjusting. The side of the house we occupied had two rooms and the other family occupied the other two. There was another house in the yard bigger than the one we rented; this house was to the rear of the yard, it was occupied by one family, a family with lots of girls. There was also a very young baby in my house. My mother had given birth to my baby sister soon after moving in. My baby sister would be the catalyst for the next round of ghetto excitement.