Amidst the serenity of a Manchester community, a sad reality unfolds as an elderly woman, Norma Brown battles illness in deplorable living conditions. Brown who is over the age of 65, is cared for by her youngest child Olisa Findley-Scott after suffering a major stroke two years ago followed by two minor ones.

“She took ill one morning and I brought her to the hospital. They sent me to do a brain scan. When I got back the results, they said she had a brain stroke,” said Scott.

However, according to Scott her mother’s condition worsened in September 2023.
Today, unable to speak, Brown resides in a repurposed chicken coop made from old zinc and board in the community of New Forest. There are no windows or proper ventilation- only a door for entrance and exit.
Inside the dwelling is a bed, a bedside table with her bedding and diapers, a plastic basket with her clothes, and a light bulb dangling overhead.
The building lies about 10 meters from her daughter’s one bedroom house that she shares with her husband and two children.
Before her illness Brown worked as a domestic helper in and around the Sea Air community also in Manchester.
According to Scott the only breadwinner in the family is her husband.

“His salary is not big. He works on a construction site as a laborer,” she said.

He cares for her, their eight-month-old son and six-year-old daughter.
After her mother’s illness Scott had to quit her job as a chef at a restaurant in the neighboring community of Comma Pen to take care of her mother fulltime.

“I used to work so that I can finance her little bit but since she got ill and unable to do anything for herself, I had to quit the job,” said Scott.

Although Brown should be on a variety of medications and have regular doctor’s visits, things have not been very easy for Scott who is unable to fund such expenses.

“She isn’t on any medication. She’s supposed to be on diabetes medication, blood pressure, insulin, something for water and even pain; it is a lot,” said Scott.

Her aunt, Marlene Forbes, Brown’s younger sister, shared that they no longer have any medical documents for her.

“The plan was to bring her back to the clinic but the time she got to do the scans and test past because no money was there so I got rid of them. One test was for 30 something thousand and one was for 19 thousand,” said Forbes.

But things will hopefully soon be looking up for Brown as newly elected People’s National Party councilor for the area, Mr. Omar Robinson, declared that though he did not know about her situation he will be assisting.

“I have started to link with NGOs for projects like these. I will be visiting and I will get the necessary information, tap into my network and see what we can do for the short term and then build through the medium and long term,” he said.

The councilor seemingly remained true to his words, since some assistance is now being rendered to Brown and family through the gifting of building material.

Contributor: Brittania Witter