Thu | Jun 13, 2024

Joy all around as Adrianna touches down on home soil

Published:Friday | March 31, 2023 | 1:36 AMAinsworth Morris/Staff Reporter
Adrianna Laing and her father, Adrian Laing, pose for a photo on their arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Thursday. At right, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, chats with Robert Whit
Adrianna Laing and her father, Adrian Laing, pose for a photo on their arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Thursday. At right, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, chats with Robert White, director of the Sanmerna Foundation.

When Saneika Davis heard that her best friend, Adrianna Laing, was badly burnt in a fire that claimed the lives of her three brothers at their Westmoreland home in September 2022, she fainted.

When Saneika saw Adrianna at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Thursday afternoon after her return from the United States (US), where she had gone for urgent medical care, her first reaction was to embrace her friend, who has undergone more than two dozen surgeries on the road to recovery.

Saneika said that the last six months were rough for her as she was anxious to physically see and touch her best friend. The two first connected a year before the tragedy as grade seven students at Maggotty High School in St Elizabeth.

“I feel so happy about her return, and I’m grateful to be here by her side, and I’m also happy that God brought her through and we didn’t lose her,” Saneika told The Gleaner.

“When I heard what happened to her, I fainted, and I didn’t know what to do. I panicked because to know that I could lose her. It was a lot,” she added.

Saneika is now in grade 8G2 at Maggotty High and had the tragedy not taken place, they believe that Adrianna would also be in the same class overseen by teacher Taynia Spence Blake, who was also present at the airport to greet Adrianna on Thursday afternoon.

Spence-Blake told The Gleaner that the first day Adrianna returns to school, there will be an all-day party and celebration.

“The school is already rejoicing, and we are elated to welcome her back home! We’ll have a grand entrance, a VIP section, a big thing to welcome our baby back home. I would have been teaching her as of September, but we’re just thankful to God and all the persons who assisted in her recovery that she could be right here with us,” she said.

Given that Adrianna missed months of classes for grade eight and will be on the brink of final internal examinations, Spence-Blake said that discussions were had with the Ministry of Education and Youth to get her a shadow to help her catch up academically with her classmates.

Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson Smith, who was also at the airport to greet Adrianna, said Jamaicans at home and abroad are very excited to see her return.

“Some of us kinda feel like we have been with you on the journey even though you don’t know us. We have been either helping out in a particular way or we’ve been reading about your journey, and we have been feeling like you are a daughter of the soil. You really are. We commend your strength. We commend the light in you ... . You are strong in mind. You are strong in heart. You’re strong in body,” Johnson Smith said.

“We’re standing with you to see what else can be done to help you along this journey. We know that you are super strong and super awesome, so you will let us know what you need,” she added.

The September 4, 2022, fire claimed the lives of Adrianna’s brothers, nine-year-old Adrianno Laing and seven-year-old twins Jorden and Jayden Laing.

ainsworth.morris@gleanerjm.com