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‘Worst year’  for St Joseph folk


Heather-Lynn Evanson

‘Worst year’  for St Joseph folk

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WALKING for more than half-hour to public baths and standpipes, children unable to attend school and washing and bathing what only is necessary are the stories coming from certain parts of St Joseph as residents there contend with no water for days on end.
Parks Road, Bissex, Melvins Hill, Coconut Grove and other neighbouring areas have been without the precious substance, some since Monday.
It’s a situation that has residents in the various districts upset, since they say they have no idea what is going on and water tankers are like the water in their taps – periodical.
The water returned to dry taps in Spa Hill on Saturday morning after being off for five days.
New resident, Jerome Mars, explained the water in his neighbourhood had been off since Monday.
“The people in the bottom ain’t get no water [when it was off] because the water truck come and stop at the top of the hill,” he said.
Neighbours, with vehicles, had to ferry water to those who lived at the bottom of a narrow, winding, precipitous track so they could get some.
“Some of the children ain’t get to go school because of the water but we just try to make out,” he said.
But that news that water had returned to Spa Hill elicited a loud “tell them bring some down hey” from one woman in Parks Road.
“The pipe off and it did off for a while and it is very annoying, especially since it is weekend and you got your washing to do and things,” she griped.
Troy Ward, who has been living in Parks Road for more than 30 years, said this year’s water woes were the worst he had experienced.
“Last year we did getting water off and on, but the year now start and it real bad. What gine happen later on down in the year when the crop start?  That mean it gine get worse,” he said.
Experience has taught Ward to always keep water handy, but the lack of water for four days is a major problem. It has been forcing people, he said, to either use a nearby spring or the sea for their baths.
“If you get water, the water coming on in the night ’bout 12; by the next morning by 6 it gone so you got to brek up sleep in the night to get little water to go to work the next day,” he said.
It too had affected the attendance of some children.
“First thing people at the school want to know is why the children ain’t coming to school, but them ain’t know the shortage of water,” Ward explained.
“But I ain’t sending school my little man musty to let nobody say he smell musty,” he stressed.
Another resident of Parks Road, Merlene Parris, said she had tried to catch some rain water but it was not enough.
“Some people getting buckets and gine down East Coast and bathing. Some people going up Coconut Grove by the standpipe but that is a distance too,” she said.
“All my life this is the worst now, because it used to lock off and come back on ’pon a night but it ain’t coming at all or, if it come on in the night, it running like a little (trickle) and then it back off,” Parris explained.
The hills, she explained, meant that residents were forced to bring water in Pet bottles instead of buckets. She noted residents might have to “go back to the old days – just washing the important parts, under the arms and thing”.
“And when crop season start we gine got to mek in the river, we gine got to go in the river, like the old days,” she said.
In Bissex, a resident said the water had been off since Wednesday night. A tanker delivered water on Thursday.

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