Commentary Jamaica Magazine

"Whey yeye see mek heart leap."

Markdown:I am in the middle of the ‘dungle’ seated on a rusty old paint pan reasoning and grounding with the elders. There are other people around in this landfill place of garbage, scattered in all directions, diligently searching and salvaging from the mountains of city waste.Life here is a cauldron of competing interests with flocks of garlings and groups of vultures pecking their crawls full as bulldozers gather and pile fresh loads into humongous heaps.It is inconceivable how one could decry these peoples way of life to alienate themselves from abstract poverty when no one provides any other real substitute other than moral persuasion. As the brothers answered my questions, I could see an endless line of smoking trucks making their way slowly into the ‘dungle.’ It is in here the face of poverty exposes itself, bare and dare while using the landscape paradoxically as an ease to the people’s suffering.The brethrens are ‘happy’ to see me and are eager to talk. They know fully well there is nothing much I can do other than to publish their stories in the hopes that the ‘bigger heads’ are aware of their conditions.“Things and times are getting harder,” A Rastafarian brethren laments “the government doesn’t care about us, but we care about ourselves, zeen. Our livelihood depends solely on what we find but I and I can assure you that such is nothing of consequence mi brother.”Amid the stench and unbearable heat, a gentle wind comes and goes and as stories of hardship and struggles are told a roaring Air Jamaica plane passes overhead. Each man’s story runs parallel with the other, as men, women and children gather bits of copper and other metals and just about anything else that can be sold to earn a dollar.There’s an old saying that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure but in these piles of garbage there is simple no treasure. A realm of possibilities lies in their search and it is to find something of value, anything that can help put food in their children’s stomach as life’s endless struggle continues into the unknown.

About the author

Kharl Daley