AFTER years of praying for God to send good Samaritans to construct a new house for him, Malcolm Green, a destitute 76-year-old resident of Clifton Land Settlement in St Catherine, is rejoicing.
Green believes members of Food For The Poor Jamaica and the Portmore Lions Club were the good Samaritans sent by God to construct a house for him in under 12 hours on June 2.
“Mi really glad! I am thankful to Food For The Poor because I would not be able to afford this house on my own and neither would my family because we are poor,” the elderly man who lived alone in a zinc structure said, before adding, “Thanks, thanks, thanks is all I can seh.”
For decades, Green served at a sugar company in St Catherine cutting cane, weeding grass, and carrying bananas, among other responsibilities. He was 17 years old when he started. He said that the company constructed a two-bedroom house for him and other employees. However, after years of retirement, the structure of the house began to deteriorate.
“The house started to collapse. The walls drop out cause the materials used to mix the concrete was poor. I lived there a couple of years well. I was so afraid of the building and had many scary experiences. I remember one day, I was lying down on my bed inside the house and a portion of the wall drop out at my head. I was so afraid. I didn’t know what would have happened if it had accidentally touched my head,” Green recounted.
Immediately after this incident he sought refuge with his neighbouring niece, but later moved out because of challenges with space, and built a 12-foot by eight foot zinc sheeting structure for himself, near his collapsed house. There was no kitchen attached, so he prepared meals on the outside. Also, there was no bathroom facility.
The rainy periods were quite challenging for Green, who said: “Rain would often blow in or come in on me because the zinc had holes all over. When the rain falling, I have to squeeze up inside cause the rain come inside and wet mi. I get some likkle pieces of zinc and ting to try to cover the holes. I really needed a proper place. Mi pray a lot and ask God for a house and ask him to mek the people dem come and help mi.”
After visiting him and learning of his situation, members of the Lions Club brought his case to Food For The Poor for its urgent attention.
Errol Lee, Lions Club governor for Sub-District 60B, shared: “As we always say, ‘Where there is a need, there is a Lion’. When the Portmore Club identified this situation, it was noted that the need was not so much to give Mr Green food, but to give him proper shelter because he really was living in deplorable conditions. Food For The Poor responded to address that need, so we know that this partnership is a God-sent one and one that is in continuation of the work that Food For The Poor does in Jamaica and throughout the other countries where it operates. The Lions Clubs International is so happy to be in partnership with Food For The Poor in this venture, which will help the beneficiary for the rest of his life and uplift the community in general.”
David Mair, executive director of Food For The Poor Jamaica, said his team was elated to have been able to uplift Green’s spirit by building a new house for him.
“We at Food For The Poor are delighted when we are able to assist destitute individuals, whether it be through the construction of a new house, food, clothing, farming items, tools and other necessities for survival and generating income for those in need. We are pleased that based on funds from our donors, we were able to construct a house for Mr Green and our hope is that this unit will offer him more comfort and he will be more encouraged,” Mair said.
Malcolm Green, 76, stands in front of the zinc structure he once called home.