ALTHEA McFarlane’s biggest dream is to be able to attend her daughter’s high school graduation.
Since going to her daughter’s school-leaving ceremony from basic school, McFarlane has not been able to attend any major functions in which her daughter participates. The mother of two has been paralysed from the waist down for the last six years and lays at home unable to do anything.
“The only graduation mi go a basic school. Mi no go a primary and mi no know if mi can go to high school,” she told the Jamaica Observer at her Middle Buxton home, outside Brown’s Town recently.
Her dream is that when her daughter leaves the York Castle High School in 2016 she will be able to attend the graduation. According to McFarlane, life has not been easy for her since she became paralysed as she is dependent on her elderly parents to care for her. To make matters even more complicated, she said that doctors have not been able to identify the cause of her illness.
Now, she lies in bed, not able to be active in her children’s lives and especially in the life of her 15-year-old daughter who also helps to take care of her.
“They can’t find no complaint,” she said of medical personnel after she spent several months in hospital doing various tests, without finding out the reason for her ailment.
“Mi just feel some pain in mi back and mi could barely raise up. Then mi can’t raise up at all,” she recalled how it all started. Her family rushed her to the doctor, but things have only got worse.
As a result of lying in one place for years, she sometimes gets bed sores.
“Mi would really like to get a wheelchair because most times I would sit on the veranda,” McFarlane said.
While the 38-year-old woman would love to get the wheelchair, that is only a fraction of the struggles that she now encounters. She needs financial assistance to ensure that the daughter she wants to see graduate attains a good education. She highlighted the struggle to send her daughter to school as the child depends on her father, who sometimes is unable to provide the money needed for her school expenses.
“Ah the help of God and good people,” McFarlane gave as the reason for her daughter’s continued presence in school.
“Her father helps, but it’s not much. Sometimes ah people mi have to beg and dem help her out,” she added.
Her daughter often does not have enough money for her bus fare to go to school. While this bothers the mother, she is also concerned that the teenager has had to cope with living without electricity for almost four years now.
McFarlane stated that her daughter has been doing well in school over the years. She said that, based on the situation, she insists of her daughter that she does well in school, despite the obstacles.
The mother said that her child has to go to family members and neighbours to get her clothes prepared for school. However, she has to use lamp and candlelight many times to get her assignments done.
McFarlane’s 74-year-old father, Sylvester McFarlane, a small farmer who is the breadwinner for the family, said that his household has been living without the precious resource since 2011.
He said he was told that his meter had been tampered with and that he needed to pay over $300,000 to have electricity restored to his house. However, the elderly man said that he had no knowledge that the meter had been tampered with. He has since concluded that it may have been done by two of his grandchildren who were visiting with him then.
“Mi seh me no have dem deh money deh so mi mek up mi mind to stay in the dark,” he stated.
The father of nine children said he always paid the bill on time and so was shocked by the whole incident. He said that he would love to get some assistance to restore electricity to his house.
The father also pointed out that the family needed help to care for his daughter, a task now undertaken by himself and his wife.
“We try every little thing fi help her,” he said.
He however pointed out that it has been a difficult time for the family which faces one challenge after the other.


  1. What a sad tale. My gosh, life a tell u is full a trials and tribulations, what is this life dear God!
    If they even receive electricity who will pay the month to month bill? the sole provider is a man of 74 yrs old and JPS is not cheap. Perhaps JPS can come forward and do something for this family, like waive the reconnection fee and put them on some kind of discount program.
    Too bad no contact or account information was provided in the article.

  2. If you need money to help send it let me know met when you find out and hope no one see this and try scam mi cuz mi try help people b4 and other people try contact mi

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