Watching life pass her by

“I does sit down in the yard all day. I don’t mix or nothing but I does just sit down in the yard because I don’t have nothing to do.”

The words of a 21-year-old mother of one who lives in a depressed community in Georgetown. She shyly agreed to speak to me following the intervention of a third party on condition that her name and the community where she lives are not publicised.

“I does wake up in the morning and prepare me daughter for school and then I does do my work and just sit down in the yard. I have to be around my mother because she not well you know.”

The yard she spoke of is just a small patch in front of the ramshackle apartment she calls home which is behind a long line of similar apartments.

“Me daughter is only two but I does send she to daycare because I don’t really want her in the environment, I always want her to get something to do,” she said softly.

“No, I don’t work. I use to work but me and the boss man wife catch wrong and I just lef de work. But the other day I call she back and ask she back fuh the job and she say yea but now she not answering the phone,” she said when asked her if she worked.

“I use to work from 10 in deh morning to 12 midnight and you know I didn’t mind because is something for me to do and I just didn’t deh home doing nothing,” she continued but she later revealed it has been a year since she was last employed.

“I have a application to carry into [name of business] but is the time I ain’t getting to do it.”

When it was pointed out that she ‘sits in her yard all day,’ she responded, “Yes, but my mother is not well and I does have to be around she you know.”

She remained silent for a while when reminded that if she had a job she would not be near her mother all day and for a moment I concluded that the conversation had ended.

“If I work then I would get money to help she if something happen to she. But right now is she bracing me because I don’t have any job and me child father does help me out,” she said, her tone almost apologetic.

“I don’t live with me mother you know I does live in me own apartment, but she does live next door and I does deh around to help she. Is just me and me daughter and we does make do but I want to find a job you know.

“I don’t want me daughter to grow up and see me not working and so,” she said the last bit almost passionately.

Asked if she had completed her schooling, she said, “Yes I use to go to school and I write CXC but I didn’t do too good you know and all them jobs want papers.”

After hearing which school she had attended I believed she was not given a fair chance and I sort of suggested it, but surprisingly she disagreed. “I think the school try, they use to keep us back and give us work and so on but is me. I never used to study and you know then I get phone and I use to be on WhatsApp and Facebook in the night not studying.

“I use to live with me father then and then I start living with me mother because they never use to live far from one another. Me father get like scratchy [fretful] and I just go and live with me mother.

“And you know then I had boyfriend and then I get pregnant, so I don’t think is the school is me. But I would like to go back to school. The other day somebody was checking to see who want to go back to school and I tell them yes but you know I have to get money to do it. Them say we would get $10,000 a month if we go but…” and she stopped without completing the sentence for a while.

I asked if the money at the end of the month would not have helped since she was not working.

“Yes, but I would still have to go and find a job,” she said.

I reminded her that she had not worked in a year and at that point there was an almost tangible tension and she clammed up.

“My mother and my child father will not help me forever, so I have to find a job. I would go back to school because a tell you I don’t want me daughter to grow and don’t see me doing something,” she, speaking the loudest she had spoken in the conversation.

“And I don’t think I want to live with me child father he and all too scratchy and I just want to be by myself that is why I get me own lil apartment.”

I asked her if her partner was abusive or unfaithful.

“No he never beat me and he use to talk to another girl but I don’t know if he does still talk to she,” she replied.

I then asked her if she did not want to marry him since they already have a child together.

“Me en no,” she said with a shy laugh.

“Right now, I just want live for me and me child. I hope to get a job but till then I not mixing with nobody and so I will just sit down in the yard. I have a TV, fridge, bed and gas stove that is all I get and I does watch movie and so. And me mother well she get WIFI because she get a phone so I does get the internet.”

I was somewhat surprised at the last bit of information and my face betrayed me.

“We got to live you know,” she said with a laugh even though I had not uttered a word.

“Anyway, just now my daughter got to get pick up so I have to go now,” she said at that point.

We parted ways I wished her all the best in her future endeavours.


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