Regional

Miss Independent

Visually impaired 80-year-old makes, sells castor oil to care for self

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, January 08, 2018



Eighty-year-old Deloritta Dixon was busy making castor oil at her Golden Grove Meadows home in St Thomas when the Jamaica Observer North & East approached her.

“Yuh have to pay mi if yuh going to take my picture,” the woman said forcefully, but with a grin. She knew a camera was involved.

Hi, we're from the Observer. How are you?

“I'm ok,” she said, immediately sharing that she is blind and that it has been that way for more than 20 years.

“Is old age cause it, suh mi nuh mind,” she added.

Okay. So what are you doing now?

“Mi making castor oil,” she shared.

She was pressing the seeds of the plant, Ricinus communis by the doorway of her one-bedroom house — blind but independent.

How long have you been doing this?

“From mi small and mi a 80 now. March a come mi a 81.

“Mi come from Portland and mi used to see mi mother making it. It do anything. It comb hair; it can drink; it can put inna truck. It do anything and if yuh sick, yuh tek it. Yuh may want it fi wash out suh yuh boil mint tea and take two spoons with it, so that's why mi do it. A from me a 14 years old mi a do it.

“A it mi make mi living from. Mi buy plenty things fi myself from selling it. Mi buy up to fridge, mi buy up to [television]; mi buy every likkle thing,” the woman, affectionately called Pearly, said.

So after you make it what do you do with it? Where do you sell it?

“Mi used to sell it at the factory— Jamaica Sugar Estate — until it lock down, but now people still come here come buy from mi. Yuh see like how a [January] now? The people dem come down from foreign and buy it and carry back,” said Dixon.

Oh, so they come here to get it? How do they know that you're here?

“Yes, man. Mi church brothers and sisters buy it and send a foreign to dem family too and plenty people come buy it. Sometimes two bottles, sometimes mi sell four bottles and that give me $6,000,” she said.

Take us through the process.

“Yuh see like how mi beat it ya now? Mi have a big drum pan weh mi boil it inna. And when the oil come to the top, cause you know oil and water don't mix, yuh cut it off, meaning, yuh skim it off the top. Then, mi put it fi dry out like how mi dry coconut oil. Mi make chocolate, too, you know,” Dixon explained.

So you have children? Do they take care of you?

“Mi have one daughter and one son. Mi daughter will help mi out, and mi boy too. Dem give mi likkle something weh dem have but mi try to help myself. Mi blind but mi know mi way around. Mi do everything same way.”

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