A Manchester father, desperate to raise $1 million to send his daughter to medical school in China, has put his family house up for sale, saying that he would do anything to prevent her from experiencing the hardships he endured growing up.
“Is because it never sell at the time why you come here and see it now,” George Lindsay told the Jamaica Observer on Friday.
“I put up the sign out at the front of the road and quite a few people came and look at it. But I never had the registered title. If I had the registered title, I would be a happy man, because it would have been sold and her schooling taken care of,” he said.
“When I told people I was selling my house and sending her to school they told me they would not do it, because pickney may not turn ‘roun and look back on them. But I said ‘how would you know? I will run the risk’. And it is still up for sale,” he insisted.
Lindsay admitted that he got to this point after trying to earn enough money from farming, butchery, chicken-rearing, and operating a small grocery shop.
His daughter, Georgia, graduated from Hampton School this year armed with 12 CSEC subjects and eight CAPE units. But the 19-year-old, who hopes to leave the island next Saturday for China to study medicine, does not yet have enough money to cover the cost of her travel and first-year tuition.
“I have been accepted to start the six-year course at Anhui Medical School in China in the upcoming school year,” Georgia told the Sunday Observer on Friday.
She said she was accepted to other universities but opted for Anhui because the tuition fee there was the lowest quoted to her.
“I believe studying in China will yield great opportunities,” she said.
“Since grade six, when I was doing GSAT, I knew I wanted to become a doctor, but I just didn’t know what kind,” said Georgia, who also attended New Forest Primary and Junior High in Manchester. “And after I started Hampton and I did all the sciences the passion just came.”
On Friday, Lindsay told the Sunday Observer that he had already given his daughter “about $300,000” and her mother, who is abroad working, had promised to come up with some more money.
“That is where we are at right now. We putting on a dinner tomorrow (yesterday) to make some more money to go towards it. Even if we make a $30,000 or $40,000 from it, then I would be thankful because that can buy some more US dollars again to help make up,” he said.
“But I definitely don’t know where the rest is coming from. And I have to make sure that I put money in her account every month so that she can help out herself,” said Lindsay, who now farms escallion and thyme.
He explained that he initially started running a grocery shop, but it was not profitable enough to fund his daughter’s education, so he leased it and went into farming after being loaned two acres of land by his childhood friend Donnie Rochester, who now lives in New York.
“It reach to the stage, at one point, when she just passed for Hampton and her mother just left Jamaica. I was running the shop at the time and it was like ends could not meet. So I just left the shop and said I was going back into the farm. But it was hard same way,” Lindsay explained.
He also tried his hand at butchering, but still this wasn’t enough to put all the money aside for his daughter’s university fund.
“When I went into the farm sometimes it’s up, sometimes it’s down, and sometimes I have to end up borrow to send her to school,” the father of three — Georgia being the eldest — explained.
He said during the recent drought things were more difficult, but he planted melons, which thrive in dry conditions. He also planted tomatoes in-between seasons to keep things going.
He said he earned $100,000 from the melon crop, which he immediately gave to Georgia for her university education. After the melons were depleted he turned his hand at rearing 50 chickens, which he sold and again handed that money over to his daughter.
“Oh my God, believe you me, I am a broke father, but a proud father,” Lindsay said as his eyes glistened with pride. “I am a very proud father. Trust me on that! When mi walk, mi just feel like me a walk high!
“Believe me, this child is the only one around here who has 12 CXCs. Everywhere you go people talk about Georgia, is just Georgia and how Georgia hold her head up and everything like that. So I really cannot let her go to waste,” Lindsay said.
Asked what he would do if someone buys the house, Lindsay said he would find himself a one-bedroom somewhere in the community to rent, especially since Georgia would be away for six years.
His plan, he explained, is to acquire $4 million for the house from which he would put $2 million towards Georgia’s university education; $250,000 to purchase an electric meat cutter, as he intended to continue butchery which is less risky than farming; then use $400,000 to buy a pickup for the business. The remainder he would use to stock the grocery shop.
“Once she goes away, that is it. It’s just one travel until she complete the six years,” he reasoned, much to the discontent of his daughter, who feels she could not manage without seeing him for so long.
According to Lindsay, if they are able to raise the first school fee he would begin working on finding the money for the second year as soon as Georgia leaves Jamaica.
Georgia received the Jamaica Association of Principals of Secondary Schools CXC National Double Award for Agricultural Science for 2012; Outstanding Performance in 2012 CSEC Examinations; and gold and silver awards for academic performance at Hampton where she was deputy head girl from 2013-2014.
She was also vice-president for the Jamaica Youth Red Cross Club at Hampton (2013-2014); student development character advocate (2013-2014); class secretary (2012- 2013) and prefect (2012-2013).
“I believe I have a lot of potential and I work extremely hard,” Georgia said. “I help others with their schoolwork as well, and not only do I do well academically, but also in sports and leadership.”
The soft-spoken student displayed 16 medals hung on the walls of her room, two trophies, and a number of certificates for both sports and academic performances.
“I believe people won’t regret helping me. I think I am a well-rounded individual, and I believe I could do a lot for my community and the country at large if I get this opportunity,” she said.
On top of that, she said she would love to make her parents proud.
“I would be the first doctor in my family. We have had nurses and teachers, but no doctors,” she said with a smile.
And, while her mother now resides overseas, the teen hastened to point out that they still share a close bond as they communicate every day.
“She is not here for me physically, but she is there emotionally, and she has been my source of strength since she left,” Georgia said. “Even though she is not here she is playing her role, because she is more than there financially for me. She is one of my main sources of strength, along with my dad.
“Living and working in Jamaica was hard for her. So she had to migrate,” she said. “Everyone tries to do their part, but the struggles they face are extremely hard.”
“Some mornings I didn’t have enough lunch money, but I went with what I had and sometimes I didn’t have the bus fare, but I talked to the driver and told him that I would pay later,” Georgia recalled.
Thankfully, she said, the high school book rental programme allowed her to have most of her books, thus easing the pressure off her parents. However, in sixth form she was not able to afford most of her textbooks.
Lindsay revealed that he is driven to do the best for his children because his father was not there for him when he was a child, neither did he receive a proper education.
“My father left Jamaica when I was three days old and he never turned back. When I left New Forest school a lady asked me to spell money and I couldn’t spell it,” Lindsay said. “But I believe in education, so I went to a school in Mandeville to further myself.”
Lindsay said his mother had 11 children, four of whom died at birth and the eldest, whom the family felt would be the one to lift them out of poverty, was killed by police.
“But I always think ambitious. Because it was from I was a little boy that I built this house here,” Lindsay said. “And I decided that whenever I had my family I didn’t want them to struggle like me. So I will do anything for them not to struggle.”
Lindsay expressed thanks to Rochester, who told the Sunday Observer about the family’s plight and issued an appeal for help.
“This is a family that has gone through tremendous adversity, as in 1981, George’s brother, Wolsley Lindsay, was taken from a recreational domino game by a police officer to a secluded place and shot dead… I honestly believe that persons who will learn of (Georgia’s) achievements will rise to the occasion to assist her,” he said in an email to the Sunday Observer.
Anyone wishing to assist Georgia can make contact with her or her father at 1876 505-0808 or 1876 877-4158.