‘Mi go look fi girl and dem shoot mi’
Electrician left disabled sells juice to earn a living
Twenty years ago Hansel Small’s life changed forever.
He was left disabled after being shot multiple times by men unknown to him in St Catherine.
“Ride mi ride go look for a girl and them shoot me,” he told the Jamaica Observer North & East, as he reflected on the night of April 10, 1997.
Since then, he said his life has been filled with pain and struggles.
Despite this, the Lluidas Vale resident remains determined to make a living for himself scoffing at the very thought of using his illness as an excuse.
The stoplight at the intersection of the Ocho Rios bypass and Evelyn Street in St Ann has become a permanent vending spot for him.
He travels by bus and taxi from St Catherine to Ocho Rios daily where he sits along the roadway and sells cold juices to pedestrians and motorists. With an umbrella to provide shelter from the often blazing sun, and a cushion to make him comfortable while sitting, Small, although often in pain, is pleasant when dealing with his customers.
“From mi get the shot dem a it mi a do fi survive. Lucky thing mi could move the top part a mi body. Mi no make nothing trouble me; mi just do mi thing,” Small said.
A former electrician, he explained that a year after he was shot he decided to go to Ocho Rios and since then the resort town has been where he makes a living for himself and his two sons aged 18 and 19.
“Mi get up with $150. It was like a voice say why you no go Ochi. Father god love me; mi see that him love me,” he said, explaining how he began selling.
“Mi a hold on and fight; mi nah give up. I feel pain night and day, but I use my mind to block it. When I can’t block it, I bawl,” he continued.
He shared that it is his love for his two sons and the need to provide for them that has kept him motivated over the years.
“People rate me because mi sell my juice and mi no stretch out mi hand [beg] like some boy,” he said.