On the hustling and bustling streets of Kingston where business boom, people and vehicles maneuver from collisions in an endless flow of discontent and agitation. It is in these confines that the less fortunate among us finds refuge. There among the crowd homeless and mentally challenged street people ekes out a living.
Huddled here and there in creepy germ infested corners some sit, sleep or stay, while others ply the streets to and fro digging in bins and piles of rubbish for just about anything that can sustain life. Their existences to the vast majority are just as insignificant as the burden they bear and with each passing day life unfolds a bitter ending.
Life for these people is miserable, filthy and brutal. They eat, sleep and roam the streets with hardly anyone showing compassion. In reality, they are despised, scorned, jeered, ridiculed and often times beaten solely for being there, yea, simply being amongst us.
It is within these heartless acts of unkindness stands one young lady, Tanya. Like grass that sprouts betwixt the crack of a concrete pavement she strives to bring a little dignity, a little pity which is much honored and appreciated by those that are the recipients to her charity. Eagerly they look to Tanya as in biblical times of the great famine looking to her as they did manna from heaven.
‘What’s up me baby?’ Asked an elderly woman with rotting front tooth that wore a dress with faded colors, she is shabby and dirty, “ What you bring for me? “ she continued with smiles and eyes that glowed as kids would receiving presents while discreetly indicating to others of her circumstances that Tanya is here.
In a jiffy the message spreads and delightfully the homeless people converge. In a heartbeat a long line of street people in unison humbly awaits their lunch boxes. That’s how Tanya is always greeted whenever she goes down town and the reciprocal affection of hers, shocks the onlookers as she hugs them one by one chitchatting and listening to each one as they tell their stories of hunger, abuse and thankfulness.
It is so touching to see the bonding displayed between Tanya and the homeless people of downtown Kingston. They all know her by name and she knows them likewise and as each conversation comes to an end the sentiments and gratitude are always the same, “God bless you babes!” as they bid goodbye and I can’t help but wonder which is better satisfied them or her.
Tanya does this all alone, caring and sharing whatever little she possess by way of handing out food to the homeless and whatever little toiletries she can amass from her own meager salary. Her calling as she testifies comes from God and her quest to help in whatever little ways possible is the hallmark of her very own existence.
Several years ago albeit it from a piece I had written on mentally challenged street people she contacted me. I got to meet Tanya June of 2013. Petite and blessed with sweet femininity the mother of two boys is a God fearing woman that uses the power of prayer and fasting in her daily task to combat the struggles of life and to give her the hopes for a better tomorrow.
In her Swallow- field community she is very well revered and respected as a young Christian lady with the utmost love of humanity and fellowship towards the have- not. There, she is well known for her predictable warnings of the fate that besets the dons of her community with precise accuracy and often times they seek her prayers to ward off their impending doom.
It is worthy to note that Tanya’s cares goes well beyond a meal as often times she combs the hair of the women and offer to them clothing and sanitary napkins while the men are shaved and presented with disposal raisers for future use.
Her love and dedication towards street people cannot be separated from her love of her own children. Her passion and persistence is an amicable display of sacred virtures.
It is fitting to sum up her efforts and her generosity in a single phrase taken from Michael Jacksons “Happy Song,” which I herewith quote,’ let sadness see what happy does when happy be where sadness was.”