making do, making the best of nothing, but it would seem that it is not poverty
which lies at the foundation of their craving, they crave dignity as well as
means: respect. Poverty and the need for respect live in tension with each
other, they are not subject to an either/or approach they are both foundational
to an existence as opposed to a subsistence. I do not want to romanticise
poverty. And I hate every form of sentimentality. But to ignore the beauty in a
place like this is to dissmiss their effort and slander their ambitions. There
is something sublime about Riverton city. These huts bvrightened with colours,
painted with paints taken from the nearby Berger Paint factory. Colours of
manifest belief: Huts in the colours of
A lady ran a hardressing shop, listing her considerable skills in a catalogue of occasionally frighteing options. Poverty and a craving for dignity as the combined force of a rich culture. Here wealth is not measure in money but in the lack of it. As we went through the city I wished ferevently I could take more photographs and yet I did not want to take photographs of people in their misery. I asked Father Mac what he thought. He refused to make a judgement. Poverty is a part of our being here. It has become a taboo subject within the hegemony of an economic paradigm where material wealth dominates the weltanshauung of all the wellmeaning. Poverty has been decreed wrong. Poor people are poor, poverty is a disease. And yet there is wealth here. An extraordinary wealth. Culture.
But the museum is fighting a continuous battle against forgetfullness. The exhibits are being consumed again before they disintegrate.
There has been a
newspaper article published in the Gleaner which says that cycling makes you
impotent. our weight on the saddle eventually pinches the main artery supplying
blood to your penis and eventually the artery collapses. I was worried, but
this worry proved to be over-sensitive. However, Jolene, one of my fourth year
students who has a tendency to worry abot other people took things into her own
hands. She is a huge, and jolly girl. She just married in
In Riverton we looked at the little houses built under the auspices of Operation pride, humble, but not unpleasant little houses. What is interesting is that the standard finish of the ceiling is a thick coating of what the builders call “Propcorn” which is a bubbly polystyrene with golden glitter worked into it.
Later we walked through the other part of Riverton, the Shanty town of zinc, garbage and putrid water. Some of the buildings i photographed after very kindly asking permission which was easily granted by three old men who had found the shade for the rest of their lives. Walking back a Rastaman came up to me and complained that the people of Riverton weren’t going get the new houses and that they were not for “the poor” He asked me i I ever spoke to the Prime-minister and if I culd talk with him. I replied that I did not. On that note he sitched to goats of and of his plan to raise goats so that he would be able to make money to buy one of the huses. We had a lovely talk and I left, walked up when a gorrilla of a man pushing a pushcart came by and stated shouting at “Vinny” a man who had attached himself to us. It transpired that he was not enamoured of my walking there with a camera and that if I came anywhere his house I wuld get “gunshot”. Vinny, a cool man with gold tooth, gold rings, necklace a white shirt and hat and narrow oval sunglasses, listened to the gorilla impassively walked on and on my questioning and apologetic gaze murmured: “don fret”.