Working on a farm

Scotch nowScotch was born in Jamaica in 1949, where he lived until he left for the UK aged 16. He was brought up by his parents and, like many first and second sons, he spent his days helping his father on the farm. He describes what life was like growing up working hard to help his father and not getting much time to attend school.

    

Transcript: 

When I was a boy, my father was a farmer, right, he would have places about three miles away from home, my mother was the homekeeper so she would cook me father's meal, make his drinks, his tea, whatever it is and that was my duty to take my father dinner food to him from home to wherever he was working. And also his drinks. and then while I was there I would have to bring back yam or whatever my mother need to cook for the night I had to bring it back. When I bring that back to her, me and my brother Roy, the older brother would have to go cook on the outside we didn't have like gas and electric we would have to go out and look for firewood to burn for her and if your breadfruit needs to be picked you have to climb a tree to get the breadfruit for her, and prepare everything for her and then after that now, in the evening, my brother has to go out to the field to feed the pigs, or the goats,  and the cows it took hard work. Then my father, because he were a farmer, he would have like two, three acres of sugar cane and there was about five miles away from home and we have to walk and there were no such thing as cars or whatever you had to walk.

As a boy me and my brother we spend loads of time helping our father, in fact not only us but every first and second son in Jamaica have to help their father on the farm, because he work until he have us and when we reach the age that we could help, we have to help him. It was a very tough life first of all, we never have like a tap in the kitchen where you get water, you have to go up to about a mile and a half. We had barrels outside, drums as well and you got to use a bucket or whatever, you go to the pipe make sometime four or five trips to fill the barrel up. Once I had done, when I had got water and so forth, we had to go to the post office which is about four miles by foot and that how it was, we never stop, so therefore we never seemed to get much schooling, because we have to help our father on the farms. It is the third or the fourth son who go to school and me sister, sister haven't been on the farm they have to go to school. But two or three of the brothers like me, my brother and my cousin what live with us, we have to do all this work every morning, afternoon and evening it never stop and every single day because the animal has to eat, my mother has to get food, the father has to get food to where he is working. So it just never ended, but we enjoyed it. We didn't go to school for maybe out of a month, we may get maybe a week or so in school. In those days a father would not have been told off for it because we had no strict rules that you know you have to go to school, so they had nothing like you know you wouldn't go to prison or they just give you a fine it just that, that's how it was.

 

Accredited Archive Service