Regional

Despite the odds, 'Oney' fights on

BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large, Western Bureau cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 27, 2014    

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CLARK'S TOWN, Trelawny — At 12, George Williams had already made up his mind that he wanted to assist his financially weak parents.

It was not surprising then, that by 18- with his limited education- he was already working at a quarry in the Clark's Town area of Trelawny as a labourer, and cultivating a small plot of land, in an effort to fulfil his desire.

Arguably, his hard work and commitment began to bear fruit until several years later when he got a major setback- the amputation of his right leg due to complications associated with an infection.

"I stepped on a nail which pierced my foot and I didn't take it up in hand until my leg started to affect me badly a few years later, and so I had to take it to the doctor who explained that because my leg was so badly infected it would have to be removed," explained Williams, affectionately called 'Oney'.

But 'Oney' decided that he was not going to be severely handicapped by his circumstances.

Admitting that he was somewhat apprehensive when he was told that the leg would have to be removed, he noted that within a few days after the surgery, he began to work on his farm.

"Two days after them take of the leg mi sit down on a piece of building block and start to cut mi yard and then within another three days mi get an old chair and kneel down on it and start to dig yam hills," said Williams, who has a below-knee amputation.

Now 72, Williams told the Jamaica Observer West that he is still involved in the cultivation of a number of crops, including yam, cassava, corn, peas and banana, in an effort to provide for his wife, Tesslin, and three adopted children.

'Oney' also finds time to do gardening for a number of persons in the Clark's Town area.

"Although mi have one foot, that nuh stop mi from work, mi move about same way like people who have two (feet)," said the jovial one-legged man, who is a deacon at the Mount Zion Church of Christ Redeemer in the Bottom Town area of Clark's Town.

But despite his agility, the well-liked amputee told the Observer West that he is finding it extremely difficult to make ends meet and is appealing to area residents for employment.

"I really need some work. I am good at gardening and I still can farm. Things tight right now, so I need the help to feed mi family," he said.

'Oney,' despite his age, is also desirous of going back to school to "learn to read and write."

"I did not really make good use of my school days so I can't read and write good now, so I would really want to go to some classes to improve on that, so when I see mi name on a bulla (cake) I can know sey is it," he said, with a broad smile.

Hi wife, Tesslin, a former labourer at the Long Pond Sugar Estate in Trelawny, said her meagre pension and the money that her husband of more than 40 years earns from doing odd jobs, is woefully inadequate to sustain the family.

But she is still grateful.

"Since him foot cut off (Oney) mi satisfy with anything. Sometimes we are hungry, but our neighbours help us out, so we are still thankful. And although him have one foot, him still try to do any little thing to feed us," said Tesslin.

Winston Brown, the pastor of the Mount Zion New Testament Church of Christ Redeemer where 'Oney' worships, described him as a very humble person who is also very faithful to his religion.

He stressed, however, that he is in need of help.

"Because of his disability he cannot do the type of work that he used to do before he lost his leg, so financial-wise he really needs help," Pastor Brown stressed.

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