BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large, Western Bureau email@example.com
CAMBRIDGE, St James – Nothing can dim the memories of the October day in 1976 when a car mowed down a young Aldane Williams, while he was on his way from school in Cambridge.
Compensation from the accident, which has left him paralysed for 37 years could certainly make his life a lot more comfortable, but according to Williams, who was 10 at the time of the mishap, he is yet to be compensated, and have since given up on it.
" A lawyer was dealing with the case for many years but I got nothing so I try not even to remember about that (compensation). Life goes on, boss," he tells the Observer West.
Explaining what happened on the day of the accident
Willimas said he was walking with a group of students when he was knocked unconscious by a motor car.
He woke up later in the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, where weeks afterwards he got the terrible news that he would never be able to walk again--he was paralysed from waist down.
He said after spending a few years at the Mona Rehab he later retuned to the Cambridge community to his poor father, who was unable to do much for him.
With the help of friends, Williams a few years later was able to acquire a house on a small plot of land in the Mc Leod area of Cambridge.
His handicap, however, did not prevent him to fend for himself as the paraplegic has embarked on a number of initiatives to make ends meet.
" I have planted several banks of yam, I am rearing chickens, I plant banana, dasheen and several other crops," he said.
He is also involved in the selling of cooking gas to residents in the community-- a project he started back in 2008.
He said however, that in recent years he has seen a reduction in sales, citing his inability to delivery the product to his customers, as a major cause.
"The support has been poor for the past two years because I don't have a ride to take the gas to the people and other persons have their vehicles which they use to deliver the gas to them. But I still have a few who buy from me," he added.
And due to the declining sales, Williams said that he now travels to a shopping centre in downtown Montego Bay-- a distance of roughly 16 miles-- at least twice weekly where he solicits money.
" A lot of people come to know me at the shopping centre and they give me a little something when they see me, and that helps me a lot," said a grateful Williams.
Last week, he was among the more that 500 persons across the island who received a free wheelchair from the US based-charitable organisation, Free Wheelchair Mission.
And he could hardly contain his joy when he was presented with the wheelchair at a ceremony held at the Faith Temple Assembly of God, in Montego Bay.
" I am really thankful for the wheelchair, the one I am presently using was falling apart.... I am really grateful. Now I will be able to move around and do much more for myself," he told the Observer West.
Meanwhile, Oliver Green, a resident of Mc Leod Road in Cambridge noted that residents in the community have high regards for Williams.
"He is my neighbour and we really see him as a very creative and hard working person," said Green, who had worked for the Child Development Agency for many years.
"He has initiated a lot of projects to help himself to survive. For example, he has a little cooking gas business where he sells cooking gas to the community; he repairs and expands his house and also he rears chickens and does a little farming and so we don't see him as somebody who depends on the community for survival. He really helps himself."