Can Any Good Come Out of Trench Town?

Out of Trench Town?

Can Any Good Come Out of Trench Town?
Back in 2003, when I created The Family Enrichment Through Computing and Hope Pegram (The F.E.T.C.H. Program), my primary focus was to provide Information Technology Education and Training plus Entrepreneurship Education for low-income families (parents and children) as a deterrent to neighborhood crime and violence; particularly gun-related violence. Can Any Good Come Out of Trench Town?Born out of an internal fire burning within me, The F.E.T.C.H. Program seeks to give back something more than just lip-service to an issue which is very personal to me.

Hailing from the small-town, rough and rugged environment of the inner-city ghettos of Kingston 12, Jamaica (Rema to be exact), I know all too well, by first-hand experience, the ill-effects of gun-related violence and crime. As a youngster growing up in Rema during the 1970s and 80s, my life was filled with daily experiences from which I had to quickly learn and, as DaddyMan (my father) would say, “find nuggets” which I would then incorporate into my own personal routine for survival.

Imagine having to learn lessons on life and death struggles for survival in a politically charged small town where everyone knew everyone but could easily kill anyone at the drop of a hat anyways...Just because of pressure and influence from politicians to reduce the head-count of their opponents, not by ballots, and ideological exchanges, but by bullets, elimination of human beings. Can you imagine overcoming great odds of dying at the hands of gunmen, avoiding the pitfalls and glitter of gang-life, staying off drugs, getting excellent grades while winning scholarships to attend prestigious schools, and striving to be one’s best in a brutally competitive under-funded, under-resourced community, all before the age of ten? Well, Welcome to Trench Town!!!

Can Any Good Come Out of Trench Town?
My parents made sure I hit the books hard while many of my peers were out at night hunting and hurting each other. While I was passing scholarship exams and getting on with my educational pursuits, some of my friends were passing drugs and guns amongst themselves...some even passed away as innocent victims of gun-violence or drug-related poisoning while others were the perpetrators of said violent acts.  While I was on the path to liberation from poverty by becoming educated (education is the key to poverty) as my father, DaddyMan taught me. 

One of my biggest issue back then was having to tell folk I was mingling with outside of my home-town, Rema, that I came from, and had to return each night to a community which was characterized and negatively stigmatized by it astronomically high murder-rate, its informal shanty-town styled settlements, predominantly high unemployment levels, high birth-rate of children to single, uneducated, youth-moms, inadequate infrastructure and social services, proliferation of gang violence, drug use and trafficking...And the list goes on.

Yes...Poverty reigned supreme in Rema...And where there is poverty there is usually a lack of educational opportunities and skills training. This quickly breads desperation and sets the stage for exploitation.

The whole world is a ghetto

Exploitation and desperation leads to further resentment, crime, violence, hospitalization, incarceration and all too often...death. So now we’re on the slippery-slope of poverty, which only leads to deeper frustration and mayhem for its survivors. Can you see the vicious cycle? To this very day, Rema remains one of the most criminally active and dangerous communities of Jamaica. Residents here experience or witness various forms of violent crimes, such as murder, assaults, shootings and robberies on a daily basis.

I’ll leave it up to you to figure out how uneducated, unemployed single-moms feed their children in Rema. You tell me how you suppose young men who feel they have no options for education or employment manage to pass the day without scheming up or committing some kind of criminal activity just so they may stay alive in that jungle of frustration and “Suffer-a-tion” (Suffer-a-tion is a Jamaican colloquial term meaning extreme suffering and frustration). 

The whole world is a ghetto, I know this, so even though I can’t physically be in Rema to give back to the community which taught me so much about life, I was burning up to try to find an area which closely resembled the one I grew up in. Fortunately for me I found many such communities here in Miami.

Return to West Kingston

The slippery-slope of poverty, which only leads to deeper frustration

Unfortunately for the residents of these communities, their need for help is becoming even more dire, while the responses to their cries for help are growing even fewer. So I felt that I had to jump in, heart first, when I did, without waiting or wondering where I would find the proper support structure, resources or assistance for the monumental task of uplifting the helpless, restoring the broken and helping the under-served to realize new leases on life. I pledged and committed my personal funds, my time and all I own to this project, because I truly believe that this is what I was born to do.Can Any Good Come Out of Trench Town?No, I won’t Stop Until I Can No Longer Get It Wrong, and then I will do it even better. I won’t quit until I achieve my life’s simple purpose and goal, as dictated to me by my father (DaddyMan) throughout his life and just before passing. Everyday I live I will seek to do all the good I can, for all the people I can, as effectively as I can, as long as I can...Without expecting anything in return for said efforts. For that is my destiny... I was placed here on Earth to uplift the under-served and impoverished by way of Technology Education and Training.

This is the realization and determination I bring to The F.E.T.C.H. Program.

This Is F.E.T.C.H.!