I was out there in Kingston, in the society living a normal life. I had work in the private sector, for seven years at a computer store. Then the global recession happened; it had a very adverse effect on my life. Job cut. Eviction. My life deteriorated rapidly. I couldn’t compose myself materially or emotionally. My experience traumatized me mentally I didn’t know I could be reduced to this state. I had to resort to the shelter. This place is a haven for care and protection. I am now here to reintegrate back into society and bring normality to my life. I am working hard on getting back on my own, working with the resources I have available and with what the shelter has to give. This place is a very G-d blessed place, it’s a refuge center, taking care of one’s desperate needs. My dreams are to initiate my independence, to pay for all my own meals again and get around freely. I’m doing a lot of saving so that I can start again, from ground zero.
Before coming to the shelter I was at home. My brother was beating me up, early on this year he abused me with a machete and rope and so on. I had to go to the hospital, and they brought me to the shelter. I find it nice here, things are ok. I’ve been doing different things, like going to the craft market and helping to sell things for the shelter. I’m looking to go to HEART to learn about nursing or early childhood teaching. I want to become a teacher. I want to build me own little house.
I was living at my grandmothers for some time but the space wasn’t there so I couldn’t stay there. I was on the street for weeks. Nobody tried to help me, not even my family, just one woman would get me some food. Then a family friend called the shelter to see if I could stay there and they sent a taxi for me that carried me here. At first I was afraid, but I got used to everybody and then things were okay. The shelter is helping me to build a house and get back on my feet. They helped me find some work. They’re helping me get in touch with my family and helping with the problems I face along the way with building my house. Through being at the shelter I have hope. Since being here things have been picking up. I could be on the street and a whole heap of things could have happened to me. But being brought here saved my life. The shelter is a nice place here, and a lot more people can come here to get help to help themselves.
I was diagnosed with schizophrenia several years ago, and no one was there to help me take my medication. I was hospitalized and rehabilitated which allowed me to take care of my son and work at a bakery. I was living in Kingston with some relatives and working at the bakery. The work made me joyful. But I started to get sick again, the schizophrenia. My relatives didn’t know how to handle me and they called the police to take me. The police beat me up. So I left the place, all my things, and worked two more days and slept on the street. I left my jobs and came to Port Antonio. Things were looking good for me here, but I didn’t have anywhere to sleep here. I went to my father but he didn’t want me there because he said I was trouble. I was walking up and down Port Antonio with a big bag, I had nothing to do, nowhere to stay. I went to the policeman and they told me about the shelter and gave me the information and directions to get there.
At first it took a little time to get used to the people here, but I still tried my best. The shelter impacts me in a great way. I get three meals a day, I get shelter, and it is helping me re-enter into society. The shelter helped me take my medication regularly, it helps in a great way. I do better in the shelter. I’m working to get myself back into society. Every week I go to the bakery to pick up some bread. I’m making a bond with the supervisor there so I can get a job when they have an opening. I’m working to get a job and get some money and rent a one room house.
Please note: These are real life stories written by our residents, therefore, we have changed their names to protect their confidentiality.