A grim life
Man who lives in dilapidated shack says he wants a pair of good shoesTuesday, May 25, 2021
BY JASON CROSS
The shack made of rusty zinc and pieces of wood in which 58-year-old Kirk Gordon has been living at the foot of Red Hills, St Andrew, for almost 10 years doesn't give him much protection from the elements of weather.
However, Gordon, who has a hearing impairment, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that he was more concerned about not having a decent pair of shoes to wear on the streets daily than he is about his living conditions.
He shared that someone recently donated a pair of shoes to him, but it wasn't his size — 12.
“Di shoes mi did have already barely going. Mi get a shoes Saturday, but it tight bad. Dat person supposed to get a size 12 for me but dem nuh come up to now. Mi supposed to go visit mi people dem today (Monday), but di shoes inna di way,” he said yesterday.
The Observer was unable to get more information from Gordon about his circumstances and how he came to be living at the spot exposed to the elements. Residents, though, were more forthcoming.
They surmised that his hearing impairment makes it difficult for people to understanding him, so he avoids excessive chatter with others.
“Him homeless, but a nuh street man. Him spend most of him time over deh suh. If him a go someweh, him go and come back over deh suh, and him nuh drink or smoke. I don't know what happened, but he was a working man,” a man who lives across the street from Gordon told the Observer yesterday.
“You waan hear the type of conversations he has with himself. More time you will hear him a sing recent Popcaan song and a laugh. So mi know him can hear. Sometime mi wonder if him wet up when rain fall, because him just coop up under deh suh,” added the man who opted not to be named.
“A same place over deh suh him use di bathroom and everything and him talk loud right through the night because him deaf. Mi nuh know if a infection or wah but him have cold inna him ears all di while,” the man claimed.
Numerous people from the community told the Observer Gordon was once employed to Purity Bakery off Red Hills Road and the company helps him out regularly with food packages. They said he also has relatives living in the Red Hills Road area, who, along with church and service groups, also supply him with food items.
“Everybody know him,” the male resident continued. “Sometimes him go dung a di pumping station go get him likkle water and him will cook inna him likkle cheese pan. You have church people who will pass by and stop and give him a likkle package now and again. Him have somewhere him go and get him stuff sometime. Up a di same Purity, at times him go up there and dem give him package. So him nuh really hungry.”
“A morning time him sweep a section of the road, sweep him 'gate' and sometimes him chop out di bush over deh. Thousands of people pass and see him. Morning time, hundreds of people pass and see him a sweep up, but only a few people stop and give him things. Him nuh beg because some people can't understand him. Him nuh really talk to people and him no give no trouble,” the resident explained.
Over the weekend, the Kiwanis Club of West St Andrew made a donation to Gordon after president of the club, Courtney Morgan, realised his plight while driving past the location.
Marshalyn Rose, public relations chair for the club, said yesterday that Morgan had spoken with Gordon on several occasions and was hoping that the grocery donation will influence other people to help Gordon.
“The president was moved by the conditions under which the gentleman was living and we thought that the most vulnerable in our society should not be living in such an undignified condition. If it rains it is going to be problematic for him,” said Rose.
“We want to use this platform to highlight his plight in the hope that other well-thinking Jamaicans who have far more resources can come on board and offer further assistance, because, as you can see, it is a very dilapidated shack and there is not much there. Come on board so that more meaningful assistance will flow to this vulnerable gentleman,” she appealed.
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