This tag is associated with 2 posts

“You have to grow something inside them”

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Uche says you have to grow something inside them. You have to grow something inside them so that when they think about doing “wrong” the thing will help them to think differently.  This is what he told me when i asked him if he thinks we can change anything for these yutes who come to the ISL. I believe him.  What we have done to the children is wrong.  What we have done is so wrong. They came into a life that we made and they suffer as children into adulthood to then make more children and this cycle will never change. Children will always come, and make more children.


Two boys came to hang out at the ISL yesterday. Sunday evening. They came while i was playing a game of draughts with Uche. Uche called one them to come sing his songs for us. He started singing and he had some funny lyrics. You know how cute it is for kids to be singing showing their talent from early it gives a nice feeling about the possibility of talent, creativity and youths in Jamaica. But one of the songs was about having a girlfriend, the more I listened to him singing I had questions about his life, his world, what he sang about. Where did he live?how come he sounded so adult, or so grown. I asked him two questions based on what he was singing.


His response made me cry for the rest of the evening into this morning. I am not crying now but i know that what we have done to the children is wrong. They don’t have the thing inside and they are not children. We haven’t given them a chance. We haven’t thought about them. They came on earth but they haven’t come from our hearts.  The “we” is not just their parents. The “we” is us all of us. The us that create their reality.  The “us” that ignore them. What we have done to the children in Jamaica is wrong.


The boy sang about murdering any man who sexually violated his sister or mother. He would murder them with a Winchester.  I asked him if he knew how to murder someone and what a Winchester was. He explained that the Winchester was a gun like a ” one pop”. Uche told me they could be made with old windshield wipers.  He told me he knew how to murder someone and in explaining he showed me what he would do. He would walk up the person and seem friendly and say something like ” wah gwaan chargie, lend me u lighta mek mi light me spliff”. He would then would then go into his pocket pretending to take out a spliff and instead take out a knife quickly and just cut his throat with it.  He also showed me another way to murder someone.

He sang a song about a girl or getting some girl. I asked him if he had a girlfriend.  He said “mi have too much girl” mi get gal everyweh”. I asked him if they knew each other and he said no. he said sometimes he has a girlfriend but her friend likes him so he has to make her friend his girlfriend as well.  I asked him why he wants to be with his girlfriend’s friend and he said, ” if them want me i can’t refuse them, you mad mi haffi deal wid all a dem, you don’t know what can happen when mi get big suppose one weh mi deh wid a gimme bun?” I dont remember what he mentioned but he started talking about one girl who he wanted to “deh wid”. his friend told him she is good to do things with because she “clean” she doesn’t do oral sex.  I asked him what he meant by doing things and he told me have sex with them. The other boy who was there shouted to me that he can “have sex good”. i asked him how he knew. He said when he does it to the girls they cry. He said they cry because he is doing it good. He said one day a girl came to his house and he did it with her in the bathroom and she ran out of the shower crying. she just cried. he smiled as he was telling me.

Everyday i learn that this is not the problem of the poor.  These boys are not problematic because they come from the inner city. This is something that all of us have created a condition in which humans decay.  Adults and children hurting themselves and each other.


Would you cry? How does this make you feel? What are you thinking about? Do you agree with Uche? Can you see how we create the conditions in which humans decay? Do you understand why we need to grow the thing inside them?


Dem call Bellevue pon mi bredren- Mental Health among inner-city yutes


Dem call Bellevue pon mi bredren. Is a good yute, him love meditation like me, but when people nuh understand you, when dem nuh know weh u a do innah a life dem waan use yuh and treat u like how dem feel fi treat you.

My brethren always in a him house.  cause him innah him house people waan tek set pon him. more while him haffi stand up and defend himself.

One morning him just get up and seh him a sweep up out a road. while doing that him see police come fi him and seh dem hear seh him a gwaan wid a bag a tings. Him nuh really know a wah still but him seh come een we a guh check yuh out so when dem a talk to him dem see seh a one well educated yute, him reasoning ability different…

…..di people dem weh we deh roun if yuh nah do weh dem a do people look pon u different. dem feel like seh dem fi a live your life.  A nuff time dem tell me a go mad, dem a guh call Bellevue. Tru mi change mi usually bleach out, have nuff girls, mi different mi a tink bout how mi a go deal wid tings when mi yute dem come so dem nah guh haffi suffer like me.

mi know myself and mi know who me be. mi just waan see someting come a mi life. A nuff doctor me guh..

My dream enuh ….a just Marcus a lone can tell you bout it… him seh mek god and the star be the limit.

Dem all have anada bredren weh dem call  pon. it mash him up. a young yute dat. mi a tell u di truth mi nah call police pon nuh man or Bellevue and mek dem get injection, one a dem injection deh….

why somebody woulda waan mash up anada yute life?

Spiritual meditation, art and craft help me, mi exercise sometimes. mi deh roun yah from mi a 10 month old. roun yah a good place enuh but the people dem. a di people dem weh deh roun yuh.mi have some real brethren enuh but mi can count dem pon mi hand yah now.

ghetto yute have fi face lie hard. a week a go mi a work. mi a one yute weh do mi art and craft and ting and when nuh money nuh deh mi haffi go look some scrap iron. deh pon the road working mi have a knife weh mi use cleaning up di food weh mi a eat and ting. 2 police come hol mi wid a knife and seh yow yuh know seh dis can kill a man. mi tell him seh yow a work mi a work. dem carry mi guh a station and lock mi up……..

There is a bredren who comes to the ISL regularly. I think he likes the place. One day we were talking and he mentioned that it was quite common for community members to “call Bellvue pon yutes”.

Bellevue Hospital is Jamaica’s only mental health hospital.

“The evolution of mental health services in Jamaica started in 1840’s. The first designated area for the treatment of mental illness was constructed adjoining the present Kingston Public Hospital. The Jamaica Lunatic Asylum came into existence in 1861 at its present location at 16 ½ Windward Road Kingston. The hospital has had many name change and its name was changed from the Jamaica Lunatic Asylum to the Jamaica Mental Hospital in 1938. The name was again changed to the Bellevue Hospital in 1946.”

The Bellevue Hospital was established to provide care for mentally ill clients. The establishment of the hospital came out of a petition which was led by a private medical practitioner named Dr. Louis Bowerbank. This led to an enquiry the result of which was the establishment of a mental hospital for the custody and care of the mentally ill. The hospital has had a very rich and colourful history. The hospital has just over seven hundred patients. There are presently twenty three wards; the hospital is divided in acute, sub-acute, psycho-medical, mental subnormal, long stay, psycho geriatric and rehabilitative wardshttp://www.bellevuehospital.org.jm/about-us/brief-history

What alternatives do we offer youths from inner-city communities who are at risk of experiencing mental health problems?

One possibility could be establishing walk-in “art spaces or creative spaces”.

The ISL which is located near to the community of Allman Town for example could be open  during the days to give young men who are interested in art, a space to express and find community with other individuals with similar ideas, views, concerns.

Based on my conversation with this brethren, it is obvious that mental health is a problem in our communities and there is a need for more solutions to this problem. Sometimes yutes just want space.


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