Painful nine night

ANDREA Rennie, the mother of 17-year-old Asafa Lowe who is suspected to have drowned at a beach in Alligator Pond in Manchester on August 6, has described her grief as a heavy burden that is difficult to bear, especially since a nine night was held for her son on Tuesday and his body has still not been found.

Lowe was affectionately referred to by Rennie, his siblings, other relatives and friends as ‘Raheem’.

Rennie, at the nine night held at the mechanic shop where Lowe worked on Lyndhurst Road in St Andrew, told the Jamaica Observer that the suspected drowning of her promising son has made her feel empty, though she smiled constantly through the event.

“It mash up mi head bad, bad. When they said they couldn’t find Raheem, I went down there and I was hopeful that they would,” she shared, adding that when she realised that many hours of searching for him turned up no positive results, depression started to set in.

According to Rennie, it is by the grace of God that she can remain standing and smiling.

“I came back up to Kingston and it was rough for me, but I remembered that I have two other children to take care of. Raheem mash me up bad,” she said.

What made her smile more intense, however, was her recollection of how much of a talented artist and cook Lowe was. She shared that Raheem taught her a few skills in cooking, which he learned at the Mile Gully High School, where he attended.

“He was not an academic kind of child, so I told him whatever he wanted to do I would support him. I thought more than less that he would want to go to Edna Manley College of the Performing and Visual Arts. He could look at you and just draw you. I always told him to pursue his passion,” Rennie said.

She added: “Being a motor vehicle body work man was not Raheem’s passion. He did it because he said his grandfather used to do it. What he loved to do was draw. He wanted to be a tattoo artist but I didn’t like that so he said okay, he wouldn’t do it. He drew various cartoon characters on my door. Drawing was a passion but he didn’t make up his mind yet about a career. He also loved to cook. He did cooking at Mile Gully High. He taught me to fry chicken. The way I used to fry chicken he said, ‘no mommy’ and he showed me how to do it and his way is better than mine and that’s why his food just had a different taste. I thought being a chef or an artist was what he wanted.”

A police report said about 2:30 pm on Sunday, August 6, Lowe and his friends went swimming at a beach in Alligator Pond when he reportedly got into difficulties and was seen sinking underwater.

His grieving mother recently urged fun and thrill seekers in Alligator Pond to obey warning signs that say, “no swimming” at sections of beach. She also urged the authorities to close off a dangerous section of the beach known as River, which has been the scene of numerous drownings over many years, including three in the past few weeks.

A week prior to the tragedy involving Lowe, 23-year-old Canadian tourist Treveno Sutherland was suspected to have drowned at the same area. A few days after Lowe’s suspected drowning, Wayne Watson, an Alligator Pond fisherman of 17 years, became the third victim of the treacherous waters.

As it relates to the possibility of finding Lowe’s body after so many days, an Observer source, who is an expert in the fishing industry, said that strong currents may have pushed him far away, making it difficult to locate him.

“It depends on the current. You have the Guts River coming from Milk River side that enters Alligator Pond. The current might have taken him further out. He could possibly end up as far as Black River in St Elizabeth. The sea could have taken him along the coast, into mangroves and then water come and move him again. That may be why finding him is so difficult. There are a lot of things we have to look at. There is a possibility he could still be found and even though his body may be a bit beat up, his family should still be able to identify him.”