Georgette Davis from St. Ann has learned to have faith. Faith as strong as the foundation on which her dream house is to be built. Her story, though, is not a simple one. In fact, it is rather complex.
It all began when this mother of one was having problems with her landlord, whom she says wanted to raise the rent by 60 per cent, the third time in two years.
At her wit’s end, the soft-spoken receptionist with Breezes SuperClubs Runaway Bay went to work the next morning, the problem weighing heavily on her mind.
She couldn’t understand why the landlord would want to raise the rent so often and by so much. She knew she wouldn’t be able to pay it, yet she had nowhere to go.
Davis was aware of fellow employees at Breezes SuperClubs Runaway Bay who lived in the same area and who had similar problems with their landlord.
As she prepared to leave work she pored over the letter about the impending rent increase for what seemed like the 50th time. She had to find a way out!
The manager of the hotel Cargill Brown, saw her disturbed look and asked why she looked so depressed.
She told him. He suggested that the Breezes SuperClubs Runaway Bay employees who had a similar problem put up and buy some land.
Davis saw the first ray of hope. It would solve the problems and enable her to accomplish something many people aspire toward but just can’t afford. After discussing the matter with then fellow receptionist, Hugh Gomez, she learned that the rent on his house was also hitting the roof.
The two decided to drive around the first chance they got, to ask if there was anyone in the area selling land.
On one of their first trips they met an old man, Stanley Blackstock. Davis broke the ice with:
“Good afternoon, sir. I’ve brought two grandchildren to see you.”
The old man laughed.
Davis knew the going would be easier from there. “Do you know anyone around here who’s selling land to poor people?”
The man laughed again and told them to return in two weeks when they could discuss
the five-acre plot of land he was selling.
Two weeks later Blackstock took them to see his lawyer.
Davis then organised a group of 16 to buy the land which would be equally divided for more affordable purchase. The buyers included Joseph Morgan, Laurent Wray, Ian Stewart, Victoria Udell, Conroy Campbell, FitzRoy Guy, Michelle Fletchers and Davis.
They had to wait a long time, though, for the parish council to approve the subdivision, and Davis had to trek to Kingston many times, talking to the relevant people involved in the various phases of the project.
Then, another ray of hope shone.
Operation Pride land developers came along. This meant a few individuals in the group could negotiate to have their plots developed by the company.
Things seemed to be coming on nicely. Davis’s dream of so many years was about to become a reality.
No more worrying about having to move out according to the whim and fancy of a landlord. No more worrying about paying exorbitant rent and having little money on which to survive. Her time had come! She and her colleagues were going to be in the enviable position of owning their own homes in the newest housing development at Runaway Bay, Sunset View Mews! –
There were still a lot of loose ends to be tied up. They had to raise money to install electricity and other facilities; $5 million, they didn’t have.
Then a member of the group dropped out. Fortunately they found someone to take his place.
Breezes SuperClubs Runaway Bay raffled one of the lots which was won by employee, Oliviene Henry — and the proceeds went towards payment for the five-acre piece of land.
When Outlook visited the area to get a first-hand look, the team ran into the future residents. They were proudly surveying the area and playfully pointing to the vacant individual lots which were some wild goats had made their home. They didn’t mind; their own homes would stand there soon enough.
“I remember when I first came to this place, there was nothing but bush and large trees and logs that you had to jump over,” said one from the group. Another eagerly fantasised, “I want that spot there,” pointing to a lot on a very steep slope, covered with bush and large rocks offering a breath-taking view of Runaway Bay.
When asked how she is going to get up there, she replied smiling, “Oh, I’ll just build some steps, or better yet, I’ll get an elevator!” she laughed.
There was lots of laughing, giggling and planning, as members of the group took in the fresh air, and admired some of Jamaica’s best scenery
It seems the determined group got a little bit more than what they had bargained for.
You see, they set out to build for the future, to ensure that they will always have a roof over their head, rather than depending on the mood swings of inconsiderate landlords and ladies.
Today, while some of us in Kingston are inhaling the carbon monoxide from our luxurious cars, as we make our way through the bustling roads and boulevards of the concrete laden streets, our friends at Sunset View Mews will be listening to the sweet sounds of birds singing – feasting their eyes on some of God’s best handiwork and being that much closer to nature.
Source: The Gleaner