A house for 77-year-old Easton Forrest
Hybrid Cyclers West completes first good deedFriday, July 16, 2021
BY ROSALEE WOOD
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Easton Forrest has been watching his house slip further into disrepair for years. Then, earlier this month, the 77-year-old's dream of having a house with a roof free of leaks and floors that can support his wheelchair was realised.
The newly formed Westmoreland-based Hybrid Cyclers West spearheaded a project to build him a studio unit.
The wooden structure is valued at approximately $648,000 and is the first of what Hybrid Cyclers West expects will be many of its good deeds.
Forrest was thrilled to see his yard buzzing with chatter from neighbours and well-wishers who came out to help build his house on July 4.
“[I am very much] in need of what mi get… mi satisfy. So I give God thanks for what I get now,” he said. “I have a whole heap a challenge [with the old house]. The house bottom get bad, the top get bad, when rain fall I have to set up a whole heap a things to catch water. Mi stay [really] bad,” he told the Jamaica Observer as he watched the flurry of activity in his usually quiet yard.
The one-time cane cutter and driver in the sugar industry depends on family members — and only two of them live nearby — to lift his wheelchair when he needs to get around his dilapidated house. “Sometimes it rough, I have to keep steady,” he said.
With his new house, those struggles will now be a thing of the past.
Hybrid Cyclers West is thrilled it was able to help.
“[We are] just a group of business persons in the Savanna-la-Mar area,” explained Patricia Colly-Mowatt, of Mowatt's Construction and Concrete Limited. “We decided that we are just going to cycle for the purpose of health, and in so doing we decided to take on some charities. This is our first charity. Abigail Malcolm, who is the councillor-caretaker for this division, came to me and asked for some help, so I decided that I will give her a hand. In so doing, the entire team decided that they will come on board and just give a hand to this elderly gentleman.”
Malcolm, who was on site, said she became aware of Forrest's situation when she did her first walk through of the community in October 2020.
“It was the rainy season, and it wasn't a good look when I saw the condition he was living in,” she told the Observer. “I knew it was not fit and healthy for a man of his age, or for any human being at all. I decided I needed to make a difference for him.”
“It took me a while because there was no funding,” she added. “But I managed to find persons who came on board, who I am much grateful for, who did a tremendous job in making this project possible today. If you can make a difference in someone's life, try to. If you can even lend a $1,000 it will make a difference. Just try to help. Because what if I tell you that all these men you see here are volunteering their services. The young men have come out to lend a hand.”