Almond collector has big dreams
"Is just the help I want!" are the words of 56-year-old Brenda Daley, who is on the verge of eviction this month from a one-bedroom house due to unpaid rent.
Daley, who resides in Sandy Bay, Hanover, has ideas for a profitable almond business, but needs help to get it off the ground. She admitted that she does not like to beg out of shame.
"I will eat dumpling with butter and go my bed hungry and nobody will know. Drink some sugar and water and full mi belly. I am a very poor but a very honest lady that just needs a start. I just want to build a business with the almonds," Daley explained. "It is free around Jamaica, that is why I want to gather them to make anything in almond, whether drops, drink, milk or whatever and resell them locally and internationally."
Daley said her interest in almonds as a potential money-making venture started about 15 years ago when a woman she used to make drops for invited her to collect almonds and make small by-products from them.
"I told her that it's a lot of work in that and she said I must not mind that, I must just make a go and gather them and make a little," Daley explained. "I left it for some years but came back and said that I am wasting time because these things are free," she said.
In the one-bedroom house, which has no furniture or electricity, Daley sat on a pile of shelled almonds as she explained how she collects the almonds and stores them in the kitchen.
"Well, they drop off the tree and then I go to the beach side and then mi rake them up together, put them in the crocus bag and then bring them home. So when I come home, I would put them outside to let the green ones dry. The dry ones, I will put them inside because if you keep them outside, when they get wet you will lose them," she said.
"I read on the Internet that almonds are the most valuable nuts and have more valuable calcium than cow's milk," she said. "The almonds we have here are nutritious not like the 'fool fool' ones they have abroad." Daley, who has no children and a few relatives, does whatever she can to make ends meet.
"I used to walk around in business places and sell almonds. I get a sale because a Jamaican something is nuh foreign thing. Remember the motto 'Eat what you grow and grow what you eat'," she said. "I work with my brother two days of the week to help him run his cookshop. I appreciate it but what I get I wouldn't even call it pay. Whatever I get, I put it into the almond business."
Being poor all her life and moving around frequently, Daley said that living on a farm would be a dream come true. She wants to plant other crops such as mangoes, turmeric, noni and tamarind which she would sell. Providing job opportunities for other people is also part of her plan.
"I want to get a pick-up truck to transport the almonds and a tractor for the land. This way, not only me can have a job, but others too because I can't do it alone," she said.
Daley wants to create a GoFundMe account as she said she spent all her money in getting almonds. If she is evicted, she said she will have nowhere to go.
"Anywhere I go, I would go with the almonds. I will talk to the landlord and ask him to give me some time to gather the funds. He is a good landlord who I can reason with," she said.
Persons wishing to assist Brenda Daley, can contact her at 876-207-3966.