A Mandeville man and his saw
Anyone travelling through the busy town of Mandeville, heading off Manchester Road into the direction of Mandeville Plaza, will be graced with a very distinct sound that is quite possibly unique to this town.
It is not a special honking of horns or the blaring sounds coming from the equipment of itinerant DJs selling CDs. It is the sweet sound of a man who uses his saw as his own personal musical instrument.
Vincent Reid has secured his spot at the exact location for more years than even he can remember, not just to solicit funds as his other visually impaired counterparts do, but to entertain passersby and give praise to the one whom he said gave him the talent.
"I have been here for the longest time. But before, I was all over Jamaica, all 14 parishes, just name then and I tell you," he said.
According to Reid, as a result of the high levels of crime in some of the parishes he has been to, he made the decision a long time ago to stay in Manchester.
But why use a saw? What is so special about it?
"This is a gift from the Almighty. He alone gave me this gift, from the '90s until now. Before I became blind, I used to be a traveller. I used to sleep in markets in the nights for about three nights, bounce it hard like a soldier, and in the days, I used to play until I feel like returning home."
Reid said his vision started to deteriorate when he found out he had cataract and even though his vision had not yet completely left him, he said he had to give up his work as a craftsman.
"I did an operation and I could see for a little bit, then it went again, came back for about 18 years, then it left completely. That's when I found out I had glaucoma, and you know there is no coming back from that. I used to wrap sofas and do all of that, but you know you need to drive to have those items transported and I couldn't do all of that, so I just gave it up."
Reid said it was after that that he discovered his musical talent and started working on it.
"This saw that I play, at the tip of it there is a bend and it helps me to get different sounds and prevents my hand from getting tired. I can play 24 hours for the day without stopping, unless I want to. I have learnt to manipulate the teeth of the saw so it can give me different sounds. You have to take your time; it's like when you driving a car, moving from first, second and third gear," he said.
Not even the sweltering heat of the summer sun can stop Reid from journeying from his home in Numprel in the parish to the town, to do what he loves and what he now considers his nine-to-five job.
"This is my occupation and I enjoy playing. Some people will call it entertainment, but I call it praising God with a saw, and people who see it fit will put a little contribution in my pan."
With his welcoming spirit and jovial personality, Reid has become very popular and well respected by those who take the time to get to know him.