It’s just after 6.30 am and I’m driving my big blue work truck down the narrow road into the cul-de-sac. I’m here to collect a couple of electrical pipes we are going to use on another job. The house here is a very small three bedroom cottage in the heart of the suburb of West Bay. It is being built by volunteers for a project called ‘Habit for Humanity’. Habitat for Humanity basically puts up simple houses for underprivileged community members on the cheap. Thornton Construction is in charge of managing the project and doing all the “technical work”- basically ensuring that the volunteers don’t stuff up too much.
I arrive to a loud screaming match. ‘You f-ing black bastard, get out of my f-ing sight’ followed by a male voice offering similar expletives in reply. I carry on my business and am tying the long poles onto the truck when the doddering old lady from next door arrives, followed by a couple of fighting roosters and a brood of baby chickens. She is barefoot and dressed in her slightly grubby paisley nightie.
‘Good morning, how are you today,’ I ask.
‘I’m here,’ she replies. ‘When you going to finish this f-ing house,’ she says pointing to the brightly painted blue house.
‘Well, we have finished,’ I say. ‘It’s now the turn of the volunteers, who will be working most weekends.’
‘Well let me tell you something. You tell him (I’m assuming this is my boss) that Beaula says that he better get this house finished. Before hurricane season comes. I’m not having this iron thing float into my f-ing house, iron container – there will be hell to pay in this neighbourhood.’
I nod my head in agreement, lock up our storage container and hurry on my way. She might be right, but there is not a chance in hell that these volunteers are going to finish this house anytime soon. They get blisters from pushing paint rollers.
Beaula is a real West Bay girl (grandmother) who actually has a heart of gold and will preach the ‘Lords good word’ to you all day if you let her get hold of you. The verse will be full of expletives and probably nothing you have ever read in any bible, but she really does mean well. Her extended family lives around her and provide the “entertainment” for the neighbourhood. Their loud screaming and cussing matches will have you chuckling to yourself. I feel really sorry for her grandchildren who always seem to be in trouble. She’s caught them “trimming” her banana trees with a giant machete, throwing coconuts at each other and various other misdemeanours.
Well, what more can I say, West Bay is an exciting place to live, notorious for its inbreeding, low intelligence and rum drinking.