As the popular saying goes. “When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.” This is exactly what Jamaican Olympian,Olivia McKoy, has done.
The one time Javelin record holder is now on the streets of Jamaica, homeless and selling juice for a living. Even passers-by who stop to purchase juice from her at $20, do not recognize her.
Ms McKoy’s financial situation, got so bad that she was unable to pay rent and spent many nights on the streets of Kingston with her four-year-old son by her side, till he was sent to live with relatives abroad. She is often offered a place to stay by strangers but they always ask for sexual favors in return, which she was not prepared to do. Olivia also tried living with her sister and her boyfriend, but he ended up abusing her and throwing her out of the house.
“I started a business there. I bought material and made a chicken coop but he took it away from me,” she said.
With nowhere to go and no money left, she was forced on the streets.
“Nothing is too menial for me to do,” she said. “I just decide to do this.”
Ms. McKoy was on her last $300 when she decided to buy and sell bag juices as a money-turner.
“I don’t know how many bag juice I can sell to actually get everything together, but I am trying my best,” she said.
Though Ms McKoy is sleeping on the streets and trying to earn a living from selling juice bags, she has the certification to accomplish so much more. She holds a bachelors degree in Business Administration from Louisiana Tech University and is also pursuing a Masters degree.
“I started Industrial Organisational Psychology and then I went over to the MBA programme, so I still have like about six credit hours to finishing up my Masters degree.”
It’s such a sad situation when persons who have contributed to their country and done so much, is forced against the ropes. I am hoping that the relevant persons will pick up on Olivia’s story and try to help her out.
“I have represented my country for 20 years and that is all I know to do,”
Let’s listen to Olivia’s full story here: