For Lesa's brilliance the milk of human kindness flows

For Lesa's brilliance the milk of human kindness flows

By Candiece Knight
Observer staff reporter

Monday, September 28, 2020

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It was never in the nature of Barrington and Keneisha Angus to ask for handouts, so the hard-working couple made the best of their rickety house that barely protected the family from the elements.

But thanks to their daughter Lesa's brilliance and the generosity of their community members, the parents are today holding the keys to a new, more spacious and stable home.

“If it wasn't for Lesa, this wouldn't be possible, so I'm happy for her and I'm giving God thanks,” said the overjoyed mother when the Jamaica Observer paid them a second visit yesterday. “I just want to say thank you to everybody, especially the Observer who shared Lesa's story of how well she did at school.”

Angus was referring to the newspaper's front-page story carried on July six commending Lesa for topping her school in this year's Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams, despite a woeful lack of resources and learning materials. Lesa has since been the recipient of numerous blessings, which have trickled down on her family as well as her schoolmates.

“After you published the story, people started coming on board to help out, like the councillor, Mr, McCook,” Lesa's father, Barrington Angus added. “As you can see, we got a house, and my daughter got her things for school, and uniforms and transportation and so on.

“I just had to ask you to come back so I could say a big thanks to everybody. Me nuh know everyone by name, but thanks to every single person who came on board and tried to help, no matter how small it is. May God bless everybody from the bottom of my heart,” said the grateful father.

Lesa, who is now 12 years old, radiated gratitude as she thanked the various organisations and individuals who came to her assistance.

“I got my back-to-school supplies, and I also got a laptop and tablet computer, which I'm very thankful for, because now I can go to online school,” she said. “I also got my uniforms, and the fare has been taken care of for when I start travelling to school.”

The new house was constructed by members of the community over a period of two days, led by the area Councillor Keith “Tommy” McCook. McCook shared that even with assistance from the poor relief department of the Ministry of Local Government, it was really the neighbourly spirit of the residents of Kitson Town that fuelled the project.

“When we really saw the kind of 'livity', I decided that we would have to try to help her so that Lesa can have a better home,” McCook told the Observer. “When you have a young girl and she really has her head on, you would really want to have something better to offer her than the kind of life that you had before.

“So I asked the other councillors for some assistance and we pooled some funds together and got to work. We also got help from businesses in the area, such as DPK Hardware and WTP Feeds, and then we got carpenters and other persons for assistance to do the building, and they just chipped in and we got it done,” he added.

No sooner had they torn down the old, leaking structure and started building two weeks ago than the heavy rains started to pour. The job, which should have taken a day to complete, ran a bit behind schedule, but the family was grateful nonetheless.

“Now when the rain fall, me nuh haffi a say to them say bring the keg come set desso, or set the drum inside so we nuh wash weh,” the father said. “We feel a hundred per cent better, and Lesa can focus better on her school work now that she have her little space.”

He pointed out that a foundation had been constructed for a little verandah at the front of the home, and that he had more space at the back of the building, which he planned to develop further when he could, so that his family can be more comfortable.

Among the sponsors that contributed to Lesa's education is natural gas provider New Fortress Energy, which handed over a tablet, backpack and bursary of $50,000 which is being paid directly to the St Hugh's High School, where she is now enrolled.

Lesa's success story also got the wheels turning for a luncheon to be held at the Kitson Town All-Age School in August, from which Lesa just graduated, to fete her and the other students who performed well in the PEP assessment.

The Digicel Foundation treated the top students to tablets with data plans, cellphones, credit and branded items, while the Kingston Bookshop supplied book vouchers, and past students and political representatives donated in cash and kind towards the school and its students. The total support package handed over at the function amounted to over $165,000, with $80,000 going to the gift certificates for the four top students.

Speaking at the luncheon, president of the past student association Garfield Angus said: “What we are doing is God's work, and your continued support will help to positively shape the destiny of our little heroes. We are alive today for a good cause, so let us continue to fight for the cause that we care about. Support our future by supporting education; in time we will not only have a school of choice, but we will have a stronghold of development and growth in our community that we can continue to be proud of.”

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