Waterhouse youth targets medical degree in Argentina
ROXROY MCLEAN – STAR WriterJune 11, 2021
From a very tender age, Jabari Wellington was heralded as a great hope for many persons living in Capture, a tough section of Waterhouse, St Andrew. But like most of his peers, the former Wolmer’s Boys’ student had to hurdle a number of obstacles, while also living with the threat of violence that has often crippled progress.
Wellington, however, was not to be deterred. The youngster, who at times walked for more than two hours to attend university, is on the cusp of becoming a medical doctor.
“I was determined not to make my environment shape how I was going to be, so from early I decided that I will ensure to get an education because that was something that no one would be able to ever take away from me,” he said.
The 31-year-old said that it was a struggle growing up in one of the most volatile areas in Waterhouse. In addition to the threat of violence, his family was forced to confront other social issues like hunger head on.
“It was a huge struggle. I would find myself studying through hunger. I had to find a way to block out that thought during school because there were days we had to go without lunch. I went to school and acted normal, I had water and sometimes a sweet biscuit, but I always know I would go home to dinner,” he said.
The former Wolmer’s deputy head boy rose above the challenges to leave high school with distinctions in the eight subjects that he sat at Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate Examinations (CSEC), as well as upper and lower distinctions in eight Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) subjects he attempted.
He then followed up with a double-major in chemistry and biochemistry at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona in 2013. The walk, which he would normally begin at 5:30 each morning from his home, addressed at 14 Lenwood Road, covered a distance of 13.2 kilometres.
“For one-and-a-half semester, I used to walk from Waterhouse to The UWI, because I simply had no money. The journey generally took me about two-and-half-hours to complete. Many times when I get to school I was soaking wet, but I had to do it because I was determined not to fail,” he said.
After completing his first degree, Wellington decided to enter the corporate world. But after a few years of working as an assistant manager in customer care at Digicel Jamaica, luck came knocking at his front door in November 2015.
“One day I finished work early and left because I had to go to one of our outlets in New Kingston on an assignment called ‘Go Shopping’ to see what the experience would be like as a customer.
“I did that, and finished what I needed to finish, then went by the Pegasus hotel to meet a friend. While there, I overheard a conversation between Eugene Savignon, who was getting frustrated because the person (hotel attendant) wasn’t able to figure out what he was saying. I sat there for around five to 10 minutes listening, and he was speaking in Spanish,” he said.
“I went over there and asked if I could help. He said ‘sure’, and asked me if I knew how to speak Spanish. I asked the young lady for permission to hear what he was saying, and she gave me it. It turns out that he only wanted to secure a room, but he didn’t know English very well. I assisted him and he then gave me a card and invited me to his office,” he added.
Subsequent to their meeting, Wellington was offered a life-changing opportunity to study medicine in Argentina.
“All I had to do was to find the money for the plane ticket, somewhere to stay in Argentina and to find money to get around,” said Wellington of the opportunity which allowed him to study and work while living in Argentina.
He was later enrolled at the La Universidad Nacional de Rosario, in Santa Fe, Argentina to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. Wellington is currently back in Jamaica, where he is teaching chemistry at his alma mater, but intends to return to Argentina to complete his medical studies.
originally published: http://jamaica-star.com/article/news/20210611/waterhouse-youth-targets-medical-degree-argentina#slideshow-0