‘Fountain lady’ finds a home
MARGARET Fletcher has had many names and many addresses.
She is, however known as the ‘Fountain Lady’ because she once made a home of cardboard boxes at the fountain in Montego Bay’s Sam Sharpe Square. At CUMI, she is known as Miss Sarah, the lady who knits hats by day and sleeps in their Brandon Hill shelter at night.
She is also known as one of the 18 victims identified in the commission of inquiry’s report on the July 1999 street people removal.
Fletcher is, by far, the victim who has made the most headway in receiving compensation for the agonies endured between the hours of 1:30 am and 6:30 am on July 15, 1999. But she still remembers being forced into the back of a truck, being driven 80 miles away to St Elizabeth and abandoned in a deserted area of the parish.
And while she will never forget her ordeal, her new home and the friends she has made has taken some of the edge off those memories.
Under the total care package provided at the Faith Maternity Centre she receives food, health care and medication; and the St James Poor Relief Department provides her with clothing.
But most importantly, moving to the centre has not caused any major disruption to her daily routine as it is nearby to the places she frequents.
The centre is a short walk from the CUMI day centre where, after breakfast each morning, she visits her long-time friends. At 10:00 am, she takes another stroll to the Blossom Gardens Children’s Home up the road where she gives a helping hand.
“I help look after the children, a feed them, comb them hair and help with the laundry,” she said proudly.
After about two hours there, she goes back to CUMI’s day centre where she knits and plays games with her friends. By 2:00 pm, she is back at the centre, ready for dinner with the two friends she has made over the 11 days she has been in residence.
“We get supper at about 5:30 pm,” she said. “Me and Ms Bucknor and Ms Dale share the same dining table and we talk.”
Fletcher is among the six street people victims receiving constant care. The other five — four males and one female – are cared for at the St James Infirmary.
Six males no have been contacted are still on the streets because they are unable to manage their affairs, while three other victims are being cared for by relatives.
The Poor Relief department is still trying to find the other three.