JIS News

What’s in an Orchid? For some it is the beauty, for others it might be the unique shape of the flower, but for the residents and staff of Jacob’s Ladder, a Mustard Seed Community project in Haddon, St. Ann, it is the hope for continuous assistance.

For years, the Ocho Rios Orchids Society has been hosting its annual show catering to lovers of flowers, who turn out in large numbers to support the venture. But, a little known side of the society is its benevolence.

Operating as a non-profit organization, the Ocho Rios Orchids Society, for the past three years, has been using profits from its annual flower show to assist residents of Jacob’s Ladder, who are either mentally or physically challenged. The fact that the community has no running water has drawn the attention of the Orchids Society.

“We are the largest home, in terms of land space, of the homes that Mustard Seed have in Jamaica, and it is our dream to have a steady running water supply,” Jacob’s Ladder’s Administrator, Denyse Perkins, told JIS. She added that one of the home’s priorities is to have an internal agricultural component.

Jacob’s Ladder hopes to fulfill this dream by December, 2012, but due to the lack of running water they are unable to move at the pace they would have liked.

She said that in addition to the support from the Ocho Rios Orchids Society, the Kiwanis Club of Moneague has also been supportive. Persons from overseas are also trying to help, including a missionary group which has decided to build a 70,000 gallon catchment tank for the home.

She said that a group is currently putting in the gutters for the gazebo and other cottages.

“They are putting in all the plumbing fixtures for the home, so that we will be able to flush the toilets, instead of having to carry water in a bucket,” Mrs. Perkins said.

When JIS News asked Mrs. Perkins about the water situation, she said that the community’s best source was a 300-gallon tank at the facility.

“We collect water from the soldier camp and just about anywhere that we can get it. We used to purchase water, but our truck crashed,” she said.

“What we are looking into is harvesting, and if we can harvest all the water that God gives us and store it and use it prudently, we could conquer some of our problems,” she stated.

“We have been having lots of rain in the parish for the past few days. I am grateful for it and, right now, I am filling up every available container that I can find,” she said with laughter.

Acting President of the Ocho Rios Orchids Society, Pam Chong, said that the society will remain committed to Jacob’s Ladder.

“We to cater to their general housekeeping needs, but have also supplemented the water supply which we pledged to work on improving,” Mrs. Chong told the JIS.

The Society was started some 16 years ago by eight enthusiastic orchid lovers, who wanted to exchange ideas and tips on improving their stock of orchids. Once a month, on a Sunday evening, they would meet and discuss these matters. Meetings, nowadays, consist of business, social activities and, most importantly, assisting local charities in St Ann and neighbouring St Mary. 

Membership of the Society has grown and now stands at 45 active participants. Initially, part proceeds from the annual show would have been used to help basic schools and others who asked for assistance. But, in recent years, they have focused on Jacobs Ladder.

The sixteenth annual show was held on Sunday, February 13, at the San Souci Resort in St. Ann.