She had moved onto a plot beside her daughter’s house, where she lived in a wooden shack, again without running water, proper sanitation, or electricity.
To make matters worse, she was sharing the tiny space with a nephew and her youngest son, who is a haemophiliac.
Illnesses and premature deaths caused by blood diseases such as haemophilia (probably as a result of inbreeding) and diabetes have had a devastating effect on the community.
When I first visited Erlene Downie in 2000, she had been living alone for 33 years, following the death of her husband from leukemia.
Ann worked in Bridgetown for many years including 13 years for Cave Sheppard, a large department store in town.
Making Contact There is a strong sense of community among the Redlegs.
By the time Captain Joseph West’s ship arrived in the Caribbean in January 1637, eight of the 61 had died.
The remainder were sold, including ten to the governor of Barbados, for 450 pounds of sugar apiece.
“If I need to eat, I go next door, and if they need to eat, they come to me,” 86-year-old Eustace Norris, who spent 30 years working in a factory in England before returning to Barbados, told me. Despite having lived in Barbados for a number of years, I had only glimpsed these conspicuously poor, bare-footed individuals hauling coconuts up the hill in the New Castle district of Saint John Parish on the east coast of Barbados.
In order to get to know them better, I spent time with them in 2000 and again in 20.
Photos and Article by Sheena Jolley, Contributor October / November 2015 The descendants of Irish people sold into slavery in the 1600s live in a close-knit community beset by poverty and ill health.