Mon | Apr 19, 2021

Rio Cobre – a lifeline for Pleasant Hill

Published:Monday | January 18, 2021 | 12:13 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Elise Williams of Pleasant Hill, Linstea d washes clothes at the bank of Rio Cobre.
Elise Williams of Pleasant Hill, Linstea d washes clothes at the bank of Rio Cobre.
Kevon Palmer of Pleasant Hill, Linstead, extracting sand from the Rio Cobre. The river is a lifeline for communities in its vicinity for decades.
Kevon Palmer of Pleasant Hill, Linstead, extracting sand from the Rio Cobre. The river is a lifeline for communities in its vicinity for decades.
Residents of Pleasant Hill are seen washing clothers on the banks of Rio Cobre.
Residents of Pleasant Hill are seen washing clothers on the banks of Rio Cobre.
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The flow of the serene Rio Cobre fused with the sound of scrubbing brushes and the laughter of playful children is typical for residents of Pleasant Hill in Bog Walk, St Catherine.

Elise Williams, 35, was born and raised in the area and has been using the river for domestic purposes for as long as she can remember.

“I come to the river very often. Sometimes I stay home and sometimes I come here and wash. It nuh matter if water is at home but for now, nuh water nuh deh at home,” she told The Gleaner.

Williams frequents the river on Fridays and Saturdays and while she does the laundry, her children frolic in the water.

Her son, Ashanti Williams, was busy diving, swimming and teaching the younger children to tread water with bamboo when The Gleaner team visited.

“I swim and sometimes I help my mother with fishing. It feels nice to help mommy fishing but mi nuh ketch nuh big fish,” the 12-year-old shared.

His mother explained that it is sometimes difficult to get a good catch.

“I use it for dinner or sell it to buy other stuff. I ketch up to 20 pounds if nothing nuh do the water. Couple weeks ago when di rain did a fall, all of a sudden wi have floating fish and up to now, di fish dem nah bite,” she said.

Another resident, Nickeisha Pattie, said she relishes every opportunity to come by the river as it is a pleasant environment to do her washing and also a source of relaxation.

“Water nuh gone often but wi still come enjoy the river same way,” said the mother of three.

The 24-year-old said the only challenge is that there is not enough space to spread her clothes to dry.

“By time wi fi go back home a evening, everything would be dry but that is not the case. It is still

fun and di kids dem enjoy di water too,” Pattie said.

These stories are first in a series that highlight how rivers affect the lives of people across Jamaica. judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com