Vincent Richards, a retired sugar worker, was evicted from the sugar estate that he called home for years.
After years of driving a tractor in Long Pond, Trelawny, Vincent thought that he would have been able to live out his days in his home. But 10 years after his retirement that feeling of security was shattered when he got the news that he had to leave.
Vincent and his fellow sugar workers who were evicted were left bewildered. At 73 years old, Vincent knew he could not pay rent for an extended period. Yet, he decided, with no other option, he was going to give it his best shot. “I was living in the estate house but when I retire, they tell me they want the house. I had to struggle and rent a room. It was rough but I had to fight the war.”
The father of five who has the responsibility of schooling his last child now at the University of Technology (Utech), rented a room for $4,000 per month. Though not a large sum, with a small pension and PATH contributions from the government as his sole source of income, the rent proved too high. Some time passed and it was time for Vincent to make a decision about what his future looked like.
The fortunate owner of land in a housing scheme in the parish. Vincent paid for the land from his salary through an arrangement with the sugar estate while he worked $10,000 a fortnight. Vincent was determined to make his land work for him. But, with no money to build on the land. Vincent reached out to Food for the Poor (FFP). As he shared the boundaries of his land with the Food For The Poor and Boom Energy Drink team, it was evident that his investment would benefit his family in the long run.
“Mi tell mi grandson if him want to build a house, he can do it over there,” pointing to the exact location on the land that he has given his grandson who lives with him.
To help offset his living expenses, his home is fitted with a water harvesting system that collects water from the rainfall and a solar panel that powers the electrical lights in his house.
“When you have your own, you have to love it…I can live here” chuckles Vincent.
Vincent is one of four recipients who were gifted a home in March 2022.
BOOM Energy Drink, the sponsor for his home, is committed to helping 10 families realize their dreams of owning a home this year. This is in addition to the 10 homes they built for Jamaicans across the island to commemorate their 10-year anniversary in 2021.