By Carlos Atwell | Fri, April 27, 2012 - 11:05 AM
Howell’s Cross Road, St Michael, is a place where community spirit continues to thrive.
Although not as vibrant as it used to be, residents said it was still a place where everybody, for the most part, lived as one.
“The neighbourhood is very nice and I am contented. Everybody lives in harmony,” said John Clairmonte.
He was among a group of friends liming outside a shop.
A woman, who did not disclose her identity, said she too, was happy being in Howell’s Cross Road although she was less so with her utility bills.
“The only thing is that bills are too high and I am not getting a raise of pay,” she said.
A man, who also requested anonymity, said another problem was the number of squatters who had taken up residence in the bushy areas.
“Too much Guyanese move in here. One time you could get mangoes and ting but now, I am not going through there,” he said.
Samantha Jones was spotted nearby outside her mother’s house. She too, said squatting was a major problem as well as the fact a lot of people in the neighbourhood still had to use pit toilets.
Besides this, however, she said she remembered Howell’s Cross Road as a place where a child was raised by the entire village.
“I can tell you I have eaten from all the houses out here [as a child]. There was real community spirit but I think that as they get older, people grow away from each other,” she said.
Jones said she and her three children no longer lived in the area, but have moved to Breezy Hill, St Philip.
Still, she said Howell’s Cross Road would always be home in her heart.
“I still get along with everybody; it’s how I was raised. My mum’s door is always open and I come back all the time,” she said.
Hammad Abdul also lives in the area. He said he had no problem leaving his doors open in the evening although that may also have something to do with his first degree black belt in American Kenpo.
“I teach the Sion Hill Tigers in the community centre in St James. I want to encourage both kids and adults to get involved as it is one of the best fighting systems for self-defence,” he said.
Abdul too, is at peace in Howell’s Cross Road, but added he wished there were fewer obstructions to setting up a kenpo [karate] school nearby, which was why he had to go to St James.
The area has also spawned another martial artist in Carlitos Jones. The son of national cyclist Ian Perryman.
Jones began to follow in his father’s footsteps competing in everything except the Olympics, until he fell in love with mixed martial arts. He now lives in St Louis, Missouri, where he is the middleweight champion.
“Cycling was really time consuming. One day I went to train at a mixed martial arts gym just to try it out and the guys said I was really talented,” said Jones, who is back home on holiday.
Even though he lives far away, Jones too returns to his birthplace, a place he remembers as being “really fun, with tons of kids going by neighbours’ houses”.
Howell’s Cross Road is proof that home is truly where the heart is.
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