Jamaica Gleaner / “Two things define you: your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.”
Last week, we shared with you part-one of the story of Brian Wright*, a young man with no parents, no home, and a longing to be given a second chance. This week, we delve deeper into his life to find out how this former homeless orphan became the victor and ceased to be the victim.
Brain Wright, who had been living for a considerable time with a family that took him in, said he could no longer bear the abuse and was willing to live on the streets than in their home.
“I really looked at the situation and thought to myself that these people are not my relatives and they won’t look out for me in a certain way, so I left,” Wright recounted. “I was supposed to start boarding school that year, but after my mother passed off, I just couldn’t. I wasn’t going to kill myself or anything to hurt me; but I preferred to bounce it out on the streets.”
Wright soon ended up in Mandeville through some friends he knew, but his intention was never to walk the streets begging or to participate in anything illegal.
“I never really planned to go into the streets to beg or anything, but I knew once I saw people who knew me, like past schoolmates, they would give me a thing.
“At the same time, I was looking for help to get a little work … even though I had no parents. I never ever felt the need to scam anyone or doing anything illegal as that.
“A lot people who saw me didn’t know I was living on the streets, but a few who knew took pity on me and a few invited me to come and stay by their house, but after two or three weeks, the bad treatment started and I would be back on the streets,” Wright related.
Wright found himself without food many nights, sleeping at the back of a church or at a shop piazza.
He recounted: “I know about cold concrete. When some people had gone to bed, I sat by the shop piazza until daylight. But, even though I was going through that, I didn’t carry myself badly. I found somewhere I could wash my clothes and when I get a little money, I would go to the barber.”
Because of his struggles, Wright soon found solace in smoking weed, a habit he regrets ever taking up, but equally happy he was able to drop.
“Things started to turn around for me when I decided to return to school. I didn’t have any money or any examination subjects, but I heard about a HEART Trust programme,” he told Rural Xpress . “However, all I had on was a cut jeans and a shirt and I didn’t want to go because people judge you based on how you look; but I went anyhow.”
Wright said he went to the office and told them his story. He was later called back to do a math and English test. Having failed the math test, he was given an opportunity to redo it and to be later interviewed.
“A lady helped me to get some clothes for the interview and I went in, did it, passed and started school soon after,” he said. “But I wasn’t doing too well there. I got in bad company, started drinking and smoking. I had shared my story with some people there and it got out and I felt very uncomfortable there,” he shared.
Wright knew he wanted a good end. He attended church and also visited a place in Mandeville called Candle in the Dark, where he was encouraged and uplifted by the coordinators.
“These people, along with others, helped me to start a new chapter in becoming certified in the culinary arts area in a new parish,” he disclosed.
“I have a passion for foods, and I want to be a good chef. It (my career) can even change further down the line because I have always wanted to be a bank manager. So who knows what will happen,” Wright remarked, as he finished telling Rural Xpress his story.
* Name changed upon request