By Tamara Dunbar Observer writer Monday, September 21, 2015
It was a quiet September morning as Omar Robinson made his way to Roses Valley Primary School near Balaclava, St Elizabeth. Suddenly, out of nowhere "a truck man lick me down over the banking", Robinson, now 32, recalls of the tragic incident that robbed him of his right leg. "I was seven when it happened. Dem couldn't save the leg, dem had to cut it off," Robinson tells the Jamaica Observer in an interview. The accident left Robinson requiring a prosthetic leg that would need several changes as he grew into adulthood. Nowadays, he can be seen pushing a handcart from which he sells juice along the busy streets of Spanish Town, St Catherine. Vending was one of the few choices open to him to make a livelihood after the loss of his leg.
The prosthetic leg has since been replaced by a crutch. "Mi grow out of di other one (prosthetic)," he recounts. "Dem haffi change it when mi was 17 years old."
Robinson says he badly needs another prosthetic leg and he explains the disadvantages of the crutch.
"It very painful under the arm where mi put the crutch when mi pushing di cart," he says. "The good leg swell up when mi stand on it fi too long, so mi haffi rest it every now and then. The prosthetic leg gimme better balance when me moving around."
The cost of a new prosthetic leg is J$200,000 - money which Robinson says he does not have. Giving a breakdown of his expenses, he says he rents the igloos and the handcart from a friend for about $150 a day; he has a 13-year-old daughter attending high school in Mile Gully, Manchester, plus rent and other basic expenses.
"Mi father used to help mi out from time to time wid lickle money but him not working now," adds Robinson who says he is only now able to replace his cellphone which was stolen one rainy morning by a thief who "push him hand thru di window and tek it up off the bed". On average, he sells 10 cases of juice per day, from which he makes a profit of $2,000 which does not go very far. more