Higglers

The play set in the downtown area of Kingston provides the life that most higglers in Jamaica experience on a daily basis.

We are first introduced to Girlie who we can assume is the leader of the turf that she shares with Pearl and her nemeses Tony. Girlie who shows dominance in the group we later find has a troubled past. Where she is exposed to the harsh realities of life of an unfaithful father who shows no remorse for his exploits with her other nemesis Devine.

One could go further to assume that the name is a reflection of who she really is. A woman who like many other women is capable of being a softer version of herself; once she meets someone who treats her well. Fast forward to the current situation where she finds comfort in an abusive relationship with the bad boy Trevor. Who also is in relations with her friend Pearl and other higglers in the market.

Her responses are another example of her defence mechanisms to survive in her environment. Such instances are her convenient devotion in the morning to ward off evil spirits, her dismay of lost clients with her stinging answers and her childish behaviour at another higgler’s attempt to win customers. In which she gets rowdy and when she’s not able to get her way calls for her man Trevor. Who is her defender when she feels overpowered or like any woman can’t get her way.

Her friend Pearl may be considered the peace maker of the group as she does her best to cool down the area when when things get heated in the brawls between Tony and Girlie and other conflicts that may arise. Though she is the more subdued of the two, she is able to lure her way in the view of Trevor to be tricked into thinking that he is the only one for her.

For these two women, they represent the time when Dancehall was the new ‘in ting’ and image meant everything. As higglers your appearance can help to draw the crowd. One thing you learn from them is you have to be sweet with your words or else you loose the customer completely. By extension, not only are their words sweet but sexual appeal is what helps to get them selling. As they appeal to the egos of the men and women that traverse the arcade.

On the flip side you’ll be met with negative utterances that are just defense mechanisms for the potential sale they would have. These utterances are examples of the pride they feel working as higglers. Your decision in preventing a sale is impeding on their time to make money. An example of this is with Girlie’s interactions with Devine. Who is unable to understand the fact her husband Tony  truly enjoys his job in the arcade. As her thoughts are clouded by the assumption ( which later turned out to be true) that he wants to see Girlie.

Tony on the other hand provided a different perspective on selling as a higgler and this brought a wave of magnetism with it and he honed his craft. As he observed his crowd and made his findings worked for him.  This level of thinking we learn at times may cause those around us to resent us. As we are above their level and in a sense ‘show dem up’ on their inabilities. Unfortunately some of these disagreements turn in dangerous situations that may not only involve the aggressors but also their families and friends.

With the love situation that ensues in the play; Tony is Girlie’s night in shining armour. Her recognition of him after she was robbed is evidence of this. They later realized that the disagreements they had were barriers to a match made in heaven. Soon after Girlie’s behaviour changes and just like a happy child her perspective of the world changes.

Girlie represents the many young girls that live in our system who fall victim to many forms of abuse. Who have to  wear their body armour to defend themselves from the evils of this world. Unfortunately, not all women are blessed to meet people who are genuine and partners who treat them like a lady should be treated. They find themselves in a cycle that is repeated by generations to come. Until we decide to work for higher heights and strengthen communication and represent our peers. We will always feel sad, dejected and mistreated by the system. A system that if you’re not careful can kill you- literally.

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Christmas Time: The search for Happiness 

It’s Christmas Time !!!

A time for togetherness and remembering the birth of Jesus Christ for those who are spiritual persons. 
This morning, most of us have that one or few relatives that can cook and would have had the ham ready and cakes baked with the presents under the tree. 

I’m currently in bed and happy that I don’t have work for two days because we’re observing Christmas and Boxing day Monday and Tuesday respectively. 

With all this excitement and Digicel not giving us anything free because they know we’ll use it hard on Christmas day. We have to consider another aspect of the festivities. The homeless and those living in private and state run homes. 

Recently, I have been thinking about the homeless and how some of these people find their way on the streets. Some look more decent than some and you can tell that they’re new to the area. I remember seeing this elderly lady at the Transport Centre in Half Way Tree, who asked if I could help her fill her prescription. When I heard her plight, I recommended using what was left of the card to buy what she needed and return another time. She stated that my suggestion wouldn’t work. I left and told her that I wasn’t able to offer my assistance. Weeks passed and in passing the same centre I saw the woman again.

Another instance was Friday, where a man who they said had cancerous tissues damage one of his nostrils leaving a hole in his face was begging money on Ruthven road. I wanted to stop and give him money -it’s Christmas. However the other side of me said not to as he may ‘tek set’ if he should see you again (it soun a way- mi kno).

Then there are the children who live in state run homes. They are excited to see new faces and are content with you interacting with them; real interactions like playing games, reading to them, letting them play with your phone or just sitting with them and returning on other occasions. I’ll never forget the last visit my Optimist Club (Royal Optimist Club of Kingston) made to Glenhope Nursery and one child fell asleep on a volunteers lap….

For those who have had the opportunity to visit on a regular basis to any home. They will agree that all these individuals want is attention. If this is the response from them in the homes imagine that of our own families that we hardly talk to?

 Every time I see them on the streets and in these homes, I always wonder what their story is. For those on the street; what happened for them to be in this situation?  Were things that bad where their families gave up in them? Did they live a good life?  Are they at a stage in their life where they don’t want to return to the “normal” life? 

Then there are those who have to sell to make their Christmas and even the New Year better. I respect their hustle and try to support when I can. What saddens me is when everyone including children have to sell to make a profit. To them it may be the norm but I can’t recall doing it as a child. Though they set up shop anywhere to catch the eye of interested shoppers, causing a nuisance to law enforcement officer and your walking space. We should support them in their efforts.

How many of us can say that we’ve made a shopping list that included items for those living on the streets and in homes? Did you stop to give money to the Salvation Army before entering a store? Are you more concerned about what you’ll get for Christmas than the current state of your relationships? Did you consider purchasing  less presents than multiple items per giftee this year to create an ease for your pocket? How many of you contacted your loved ones and friends today to wish them a Merry Christmas?
On the other hand I’ve always asked myself, when am I giving too much?
These are the things that we should reflect on during the Christmas holidays. This season is about giving, which means we should not limit ourselves to just our families. However, extend a helping hand to those whose families have disassociated themselves from them, those whose families have died,  those who don’t know their families. Those who wish they were in our shoes. 

This Christmas season, never forget to be appreciative and truly thankful for what you have and the thought of the things you will receive. Life is too short to mulling over the little things and harboring thoughts of malice and condoning petty behaviour.