Page 1

Home & A WAY MARCH 2021

ll ISSUE 8

AN NHT HOUSING MAGAZINE

CREATING YOUR SUMMER SANCTUARY

NAVIGATING

the home buying process Keep your family SAFE at home!

Jakes:

A Jamaican Treasure


MESSAGE MR. MARTIN MILLER MANAGING DIRECTOR

Hello Readers:

T

hanks for turning the pages of another issue of our ‘Home & A Way’ magazine.

We do hope that you have truly enjoyed reading as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to you. We continue to bring the topics you love and information we hope will assist you on your homeownership journey. This issue comes just at the start of another financial year. With that in mind, I want to use the opportunity to update you on some of our plans for the upcoming financial year. For the year 2021/2022, the NHT plans to invest $57.7 billion in housing. To put things into perspective, that level of investment represents the largest ever made in a single year in our history.

I am happy to say we kept our word and delivered that and more. I want to thank the hardworking NHT staff, our business partners and all those who worked on our projects across the island to make them a reality. This year, as we expect to start a further 8,500 housing solutions and aim to deliver over 7,000 to our contributors who will also continue to enjoy our very low mortgage rates as well as the grants and subsidies that thousands of Jamaicans last year took advantage of as they became homeowners. If you are not yet a homeowner, as you skip through the pages of this issue, I hope you will be inspired to put plans in place to make that happen. And if you need us to help guide you, remember we are but a call, email or DM away. Enjoy ‘Home & A Way’ issue 8, and continue to stay safe!

As the demand for housing continues to grow, you have our commitment that we will continue to respond to make housing a reality for as many Jamaicans as possible. Speaking of commitment, we promised Jamaicans 23,000 housing starts for the four-year period ending March 31, 2021.

Happy reading!


EDITORIAL DWAYNE BERBICK

COVID-19 is still here.

I

wish I could be saying otherwise but unfortunately I am not the bearer of good COVID-19 news this editorial.

Hopefully, next time I’ll be able to greet you differently. Do continue to stay safe and abide by the protocols so we can come out on the other side of the pandemic together.

In this issue of ‘Home & A Way’, we will tell you a little about that and how our mortgagors have been benefitting from these measures. Issue 8 is what I call a beautiful distraction from the realities we have had to contend with over the last year. We delve into minimalism, how to keep our loved ones safe in the midst of COVID-19 and explore new ways to enjoy your home. We also have your regular Home & A Way features.

On the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus has severely disrupted construction and has made it difficult for many households to pay for shelter, and seriously hurt the housing sector. At the NHT we have responded with a wide array of measures to protect our mortgagors and the investments they have made.

Additionally, we always want to know your thoughts on our magazine. If you care to, feel free to drop us a line and let us know how our magazine has inspired you along your homeownership journey. Thanks for your support as always.

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CREDITS Executive Editors: Executive Editors: Neil Miller,

Neil Miller, Joyce Simms-Wilson Joyce Simms-Wilson

NHTWriting WritingTeam: Team: NHT

Dwayne Berbick (Editor), Danielle Edwards (Sub-Editor), Jae-Anne Bell Dwayne Berbick (Editor), Danielle Edwards (Sub-Editor), Rochelle Bonitto, Rochelle Bonitto, Shauna-Gae Clarke, Tameka Hill, Kadian Chin-Matheson, Shauna-Gae Clarke, Kadian Chin-Matheson, Patricia Martin-Robinson, Patricia Martin-Robinson, Lajuane Thomas, Jillian Warren, Shantall Wheatley Lajuane Thomas, Jillian Warren, Shantall Wheatley, Jae-Anne Bell

Special Contributors: Winston Roberts, Jason Brittany Singh Williams SpecialRobinson, Contributors: Jason McNeish, Jason Robison, Dr. Briana Schwapp, Winston Roberts

Administrative Support: Shantall Wheatley

Administrative Support: Design anDSmith Layout: Whitney

Sutherland Wade Associates Limited NHT Graphics support Design and Layout: Sutherland Wade Associates Limited PHOTOGRAPHY: NHT Graphics support Kimroy White (Saske Lee Photography)

Printers: Printers:

Pree PearTree TreePress Press

Publisher: Publisher:

National NationalHousing HousingTrust, Trust, 44Park Boulevard, Park Boulevard,Kingston Kingston5.5. (876) (876)929-6500-9 929-6500-9 www.nht.gov.jm www.nht.gov.jm , wecare@nht.gov.jm wecare@nht.gov.jm

Special thanks: Special thanks: All our contributors

To all our contributors All rights reserved. Permission from the All publishers must be given in writing prior to rights reserved. reproducing article within Permission from the publishersany must be given in writing prior to reproducing any Home & article A Way.within Home & A Way.

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CONTENTS 1 2 6 7 13

Editorial Meet the Writers Keep Your Family Safe at Home

Brick pon Brick The Key to Generational Wealth

Excellence Always: Commendations for the NHT

17 18 23 27 31

FEATURES

Message

P7 Keep Your Family Safe at Home

Mirror, Mirror There is No Place Like Home! Let's Get Nooking!

To Have and To Hold: Outdoor Date Night Ideas during Quarantine

37 42

47 51 55 58

Creating Your Summer Sanctuary Fire Safety: Six Critical Steps to Fireproofing Your Home Tips for the Ultimate Man Cave Navigating the Home Buying Process Do's & Don'ts of Choosing Pets Home Rehabilitation during the COVID-19 Pandemic

P27 Let's Get Nooking!


P47

P82

Tips for the Ultimate Man Cave

62 70 73 77

Solar Tech Gadgets!

JAKES: A Jamaican Treasure

P77

Minimalism in 2021

Mosquito 1... Mosquito 2: Eradicating Mosquitoes at Home

The Annual "Return" Mosquito 1...Mosquito 2: Eradicating Mosquitoes at Home

82 85

Solar Tech Gadgets!

The Chronicles of the Lazy Gardener

NHT: Creating Key Moments in Covid!

90

P62 JAKES: A Jamaican Treasure

P73 The Annual "Return"

DISCLAIMER: While making every effort to be accurate, the NHT will not be held responsible for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies appearing in this publication. The NHT cannot be held liable for the information by advertisers which is taken in good faith. The opinions expressed by the various contributors are not necessarily those of the NHT.


MEET the WRITERS

Dwayne Berbick Editor

Danielle Edwards Sub-Editor

Jae-Anne Bell Writer

Jillian Warren Writer

Kadian Chin-Matheson Writer

Lajuane Thomas Writer

Patricia Martin-Robinson Writer

Rochelle Bonnitto Writer

Shantall Wheatley Writer

Shauna-Gae Clarke Writer

Tameka Hill Writer


Feature

Keep YOUR Family SAFE at Home: Sanitization and safety measures to keep yourself and your family safe during the pandemic.

By Patricia Martin-Robinson

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Feature

W

ith the ongoing pandemic, information on proper hygienic and sanitization practices is being widely sought after. Knowledge on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) can be spread may assist families in employing better safety measures to protect themselves. The World Health Organization advises that this virus is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and can “spread from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe heavily. These liquid particles are different sizes, ranging from larger ‘respiratory droplets’ to smaller ‘aerosols’.” Additionally, it can also spread after an infected individual sneezes, coughs on, or touches surfaces, or objects, such as tables, doorknobs and handrails. Infection may occur if others touch the contaminated surface, then touch their eyes, noses or mouths without having sanitized their hands first.

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Persons may feel safer knowing that the experts have compiled a list of simple measures that can assist in keeping their homes COVID-19 free. These cleaning and hygiene tips shared by UNICEF.org include:

1. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mout h.


2. Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands.

4. Maintain a dis tance of at leas t 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.

3. Cover your mout h and nose wit h t he inside of your elbow or t issue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used t issue immediately.

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Feature

5. Wash hands frequently wit h soap and water for at leas t 20-30 seconds. Also, ensure t hat you wash hands after you blow your nose, sneeze into a t issue, use t he res t room, when you leave and ret urn to your home, before preparing or eat ing food, applying make-up, handling contact lenses, and so on.

6. When using a hand sanit izer ensure t hat it contains at leas t 60% alcohol, ensure coverage on all par t s of t he hands and rub t hem toget her for 20-30 seconds unt il t hey feel dry. I f hands are visibly dir ty, always wash wit h soap and water. 1 0 H O M E & A W AY

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Considering tips on laundering one should always ensure that bedsheets, towels and clothes are frequently cleaned. Moreover, in order to curtail the circulation of the virus at home, desist from shaking dirty laundry items. These items should be washed carefully with soap. It is recommended that the warmest setting be used to wash and dry laundry items. Hands should be thoroughly washed or sanitized right after the laundry is completed. It is also suggested that laundry bags and hampers be washed or sanitized as well, or laundry items can be kept in disposable bags. Food preparation is also a key routine of any household. Therefore, UNICEF.org shares the following food hygiene tips to help to safeguard families: It is equally important to note that washing hands with either cold or warm water will effectively eliminate the germs and viruses. Continual cleaning and sterilizing high-touch surfaces in the home is recommended to reduce the probability of infection. These surfaces may vary from home to home but usually include door handles, tables, chairs, handrails, kitchen and bathroom surfaces, taps, toilets, light switches, mobile phones, computers, tablets, keyboards, remote controls, game controllers and favourite toys. Please read the instructions on any cleaning agents before applying to any surface. Dirty surfaces should first be cleansed with soap and water. Thereafter, the area can be disinfected with a product comprising approximately 70% alcohol or bleach. Vinegar and other natural products are not recommended.

1.

Wash your hands

t horoughly wit h soap and

water for at leas t 20 seconds before preparing any food.

2.

Use separate chopping

boards to prepare uncooked meat and fish.

3.

Cook food to t he

recommended temperat ure.

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Feature

6.

Wash your hands wit h soap and

water for at leas t 20 seconds before eat ing and make sure your children

4.

do t he same. Where possible, keep

perishable items re frigerated or frozen, and pay attent ion

7.

Always use clean utensils and

plates.

to product expiry dates.

5.

Aim to recycle or dispose

of food was te and packaging in an appropriate and

sanitary manner, avoiding build-up of refuse which

It is said that prevention is better than cure and with the rapid increase in the number of cases, the aforementioned measures are very easy, swift and effective ways we all can employ to mitigate the spread of this virus. Note well and take the greatest care to stay safe during this pandemic.l

could att ract pes t s.

Sources: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/coronavirusdisease-covid-19-how-is-it-transmitted https://www.unicef.org/mena/stories/cleaning-and-hygiene-tips-help-keep-covid-19-virus-out-your-home

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Expert Article

BRICK pon BRICK!

the Key to Generational Wealth

By Shantall Wheatley

I

t

is

better

to

invest

like

the

Rockefellers than to spend like the

security for you but ensures that there is a lasting legacy of wealth for your family.

Vanderbilts if you want to build wealth. Generational wealth is built on wise financial decisions that secure productive assets for your offspring.

An investment in housing not only provides

Purchasing a vehicle is much easier than buying a house and so for most of us, a car is our first treasured investment. However, if you keep spending on depreciating assets, there's little or nothing left to invest in assets continued...

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Expert Article

that produce wealth. While homeownership may not be a walk in the park, what is true Is that your house will always increase in value from the moment you collect your keys. Your investment in real estate can also serve the dual purpose of financial investment and a housing solution. It offers the perfect opportunity to earn income, build equity and add a significant sum to your net worth. In this issue of Home & A Way we will explore the steps that you should take to secure your wealth.

SAVE

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In the ideal world, it is recommended that you save at least 10% of your salary. However, what matters is that you are saving something. In Jamaica, we have a saying "one, one cocoa full basket" every dollar counts, so put aside a special saving that is devoted to the purchase of your very own empire. Saving is important because even with a loan from a mortgage institution you will still have to cover some of the costs that will be associated with your purchase. You will be responsible for the payment of your deposit, legal fees, surveyor and valuation reports. If you have this money saved, then it makes the process even smoother.


PICK YOUR STRATEGY (Buy & Hold or Fix & Flip) Remember that this is an investment and your first purchase may not be your last. There is always the decision on what to buy, house or apartment or maybe you want to build. When you receive your mortgage affordability from the mortgage institution, this decision will become a little easier. It will give you a clear guide on what exactly you can buy or build. However, your residential property investment is a safe bet, as you can rent it, live in it, and easily pass it on or sell it.

CONSULT A REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL AND A FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Your realtor will work with you to find a property that meets all your needs. Location and pricing are important factors that your agent will help with to ensure you make the right purchase. Your financial advisor will help to ensure that you reap all the benefits of owning the property and help you build a diversified investment portfolio.

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Expert Article

PAY OFF YOUR FIRST HOUSE If you invest in multiple properties, prioritize paying off your first house. This will help to ensure that your beneficiaries don’t have to continue to pay the mortgage on the property, but it also frees up your income to invest in another property.

ESTATE PLANNING

Generational wealth is one of the best ways to give your beneficiaries the best chance of success in the future. After building your real estate empire you must ensure that your heirs and beneficiaries have easy access to these assets. With the help of professional advisors like an attorney-at-law, carefully plan the transfer and management of all your housing investments that will ensure a safe and secure legacy for generations to come. l

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“thank

you!”

FEEDBACK k

YOUR SATISFACTION: OUR GOAL

I must say I am very pleased with the customer service. Everything was effective and efficient. I was shocked out of this world. Hence the reason for this recommendation. Everything was done in less than 4hrs and I didn’t even do one follow up OR a reminder call. GREAT JOB! There is always someone there ready to assist. - Nadine Brown Smith It's a great way to get a house. If not for the NHT I am not sure if I would have a home today. I am always encouraging the younger people especially to start early. - Shannon Blake Very courteous and friendly staff. Always willing to give assistance. - Heather Cunningham The customer service is awesome... friendly, courteous, professional... - Michele Peart

It's very good for people who are on low income like myself. - Desine Hall Nice staff members and they are very patient. Have a great attitude towards their work. - Damion Wedderburn Excellent service and quick response to inquiries. The staff is courteous and know their job. 10 out of 10 rating. - Linnet Brown Great customer service! Very courteous and helpful staff and friendly environment. The security officers are professional and well informed!

Excellent customer service. Ladies at the Spanish Town customer service desk are the best. Continue to show Jamaica what customer service is. - Charmaine Manley

The staff is amazing and no matter what class you belong to, they don’t look down on you but assist and treat each individual as an equal. A special shout out to the May Pen branch. You guys are awesome. - Kay Virgo

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Feature

MIRROR MIRROR By Tameka Hill

L

ike the varying shapes and sizes of the mirror, so are the creations of our bodies. The perfect mirror, like our body, does not exist. There are some mirrors, based on shape, size and height that

fit perfectly in some spaces, and there are others that don’t quite match. The desire to change our bodies to reflect a particular look and feel is by all means pointless, as the so called “perfect body” is like the seasons, forever changing.

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In 1400s –1700s, the period of the Italian Renaissance, the perfect body was deemed to be that of looking and appearing full. The ampler your body frame, the wealthier you were considered to be, as to look thin suggested great deprivation and poverty. A rounded stomach, large hips and bounteous bosom was the look of the day, anything else was considered an abomination. The 1920s was a complete turnaround, moving from full to straight. The preferred look of this period was that of appearing boyish, androgynous (so to speak), youthful with a flat chest. Oh yes, a straight figure was attractive and by all means, trendy. Women went to great lengths to obscure their body frames, some wearing large clothing to hide their curves, while others sought to bind their chests with strips of cloth to reflect that which was ‘acceptable’. Oh the horror!

the ideal look of that generation. An appearance that was popularised by Elizabeth Taylor, women went above beyond

matters even more complicated, Barbie dolls were created, reflecting the hourglass shape, indicating to children, that ‘this is perfection.’ Fast forward to the mid 90s - 2000s, the

By the 1950s, the hourglass shape became

and

were by then heavily advertised. To make

to

achieve

the

body

measurements she flaunted with much pride. Marilyn Monroe’s voluptuousness simply overemphasized the need to sport wide hips, small waist and a full bosom. With many women lusting after this look, many took to weight gain pills, which

period of full bosoms, flat stomachs and thigh gaps. I remember seeing the obsession with thigh gaps, which I had possessed, at the time. I didn’t quite understand it, but I dare say, I was happy that it, along with long legs, were considered exotic, beautiful, acceptable. The fixation with a full bosom was, however, much greater, as in 2010, breast augmentation was the highest performed cosmetic surgery in the United States. It continued...

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Feature

was the season of Victoria's Secret Angels,

so too was the need for plastic surgery.

you had to be tall, thin, possessing legs for

Many doctors had now become popular

days but with a full chest, oh yes, this was

on social media platforms for their ability

ideal.

to create the J-Lo and Beyoncé figure, as well as injections for fuller lips. Cosmetic

Let’s talk about something more recent,

doctors were now life changers, savers and

mid 2010 - 2020 has seen the introduction

heroes.

of the ideal body shape, a small waist, big derrière, wide hips and full lips. As a

Perfection of the body is unachievable,

possessor of extremely small lips, I was

irrespective of the surgeries or procedures

unamused by this new phenomenon,

done. There will always be a need to

as my small lips were always the envy of

correct, to change, to augment. Despite

my friends. But things had changed and

your attempts, they will all be futile,

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because we will never quite be ‘the fairest of them all.’ There will always be an unattainable standard to reach, something more beautiful, something more exotic, something unachievable. The need to change our appearance like that of our clothes shows a certain level of insanity possessed by our society, an insanity that has slowly seeped in our subconscious.

Society’s

confusion

of

standardized beauty has consumed our world, a world that is constantly changing in an effort to fit a non-existent space. The ideal body is the one you now have. Love it, take care of it, be good to it. Outward beauty is fleeting, but the beauty of the soul is everlasting. You are the words you speak, the music that graces your soul in delight, you are your laughter and the songs that you write. You are you, and I think… you’re beautiful.l

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Visit any Tax Administration Administration Jamaica Jamaica Office/TAJ (Tax Office) Office) and and complete complete an Application for Electronic Electronic Filing Filing Account Registration. Registration.

Await connrmation email email from fromTAJ TAJ regarding account creation. creation.

Upon receipt of connrmation, connrmation, the the taxpayer may proceed proceed to to nle le S04 S04 and/or S04A, and/or S04A, whichever whichever isis applicable. applicable.

Make applicable Make applicable payments payments according according to to established established liability. liability.

Payments may Payments may be be made made online online via via TAJ’s online portal or in-line TAJ’s online portal or in-line at atTAJ. TAJ.

Self-employed payments are to be Self-employed made quarterly:payments are to be made quarterly: March 15 June 15 March 15 June 15 September 15 & December 15 September 15 & December 15


Feature

There Is No Place

like

By Jillian Warren

I

t is never easy, but people migrate for

Remembering a childhood favourite The

many different reasons. Some migrate

Wizard of Oz, Dorothy seemingly left

to seek better career opportunities, to

her home in Kansas to the dreamland

be closer to family or friends, or even

of Oz taking her from a dull and dreary

escape persecution.

existence into a world of adventure. Though confronted by quite a different reality upon continued...

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Feature

arrival, it proved somewhat exciting

They enjoyed many comforts but dreamed

despite the challenges she faced, but

constantly of being home. The excitement

ultimately “When Push Come to Shove”

when

(Freddy McGregor), Dorothy concluded

received from Jamaica big or small was

“there’s no place like home." Whatever

cherished and stretched to last for months

the reason “when yuh check it out lawd,

on end or shared sparingly with someone

nuh weh nuh betta than yaad” (Tinga

else. The favourites were fever grass,

Stewart). Miss Lou (Louis Bennett) pointed

patties, banana chips, hard dough bread,

out that some change or improvement is

roast breadfruit, frozen ackee and sweet

expected, if is even for a short visit, even

treats!!! Grateful for the sacrifice of her

“a little twang” when you have to migrate

mom, Monica had quietly planned to go

and live abroad. Hilarious!!!!

on vacation to Jamaica during the winter

someone

visits,

and

anything

and to take her mom along – all expenses Here is the story of Monica.

paid.

Monica was returning home to Jamaica

They stayed at an all-inclusive hotel and

for the first time in over 20 years. She left

travelled to her mom's hometown and

as a young child. Her mom who worked

went in search of the family home. It was

as a health aide after leaving Jamaica had

a leased property which also allowed for

filed for her to join her overseas. She had

some farming and served the family well.

little or no memory of her time in Jamaica

They arrived and regrettably saw it in ruin.

except for the stories her mom would share at every family gathering. She always

Everyone had migrated to Kingston

imagined what it was like as she listened

or abroad. Her mom however found a

to her mom and relatives chatting away

childhood friend Merlene who was still

in delight of festive times, experiences

residing next door. There was a distinct

growing up in the country, street dances,

freshness in the air. Though a little aware

galas, and teaming up for sporting events.

of the number of bees, she watched them

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flitting and buzzing merrily along on those small yellow and white flowers from the weeds

a a

Tax Registration Number National Insurance Scheme

that sprung up in the grass everywhere.

a Valid

photo identification (such as

They were greeted with a big warm smile

national identification, driver's license

followed by “Monica you dat?!!!!” They

or passport)

chatted for hours between tears and laughter

a Proof of Overseas Residence -

as they reminisced about their formative

(permanent resident card, indefinite

years. Mom was pretty proud of her friend

card, passport for country of residence)

who shared her story of how she was able to transform the house mom knew into the

a Proof of Age - (birth certificate, passport or driver’s licence)

beautiful home it now was. Merlene spoke

a Photocopies of any of these documents

of the NHT and their assistance and shared

will need to be signed, stamped, and

that there was talk that a property in the

dated by a Notary Public

community may be up for sale soon. Monica was happy to learn that no lump sum While they chatted, Monica took special note

payment was required. An initial monthly

of the opportunities she could explore. Mom

payment of 3% of declared monthly income

could retire in Jamaica; they could invest in a

stated on the application form would be

vacation home the family could use or it could

required and thereafter must be made on or

pay for itself with rental income. Being of

before the 1st of each month or not later than

Jamaican descent and a permanent resident

the 14th of the following month.

overseas, she and her mom could become Overseas Voluntary Contributors. Using her phone, Monica quickly visited the NHT's website for the requirements. To become contributors Monica and her mom would need to complete the “Voluntary Contributor’s Application Form” which was accessible via the website at www.nht.gov.jm.

Payments can be made using any one of the several convenient methods:

a Online via the NHT's website at www. nht.gov.jm.

a Over-the-counter

at any commercial

bank or branch office when or if they are in Jamaica

They would each also need to provide their: continued... continued... continued...

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Feature

a Standing order at local bank or credit union a Internet banking via local commercial bank or Bill Express. She would certainly not be able to get it done

was the land next door or in a nearby community or new development, she would start looking around to get an idea of selling prices. She would save for a deposit and explore options with her local bank concerning the NHT's Joint Finance

before they returned home, but she had the

Mortgage Programme that combines their loan

option to appoint representative/agent to act on

with their NHT loan benefit.

her behalf. She would just need to submit a letter of authorization signed, stamped, and dated by

As she came to the realization that her mom

a Notary Public or Justice of the Peace.

was truly at ease when she was back in Jamaica, she found herself wanting to do all she could to

Since she had never contributed to the NHT her

maintain her rich cultural heritage, by building

waiting time to access a benefit after registering

strong ties within the diaspora community where

would be two years. Persons who migrated but

she was located.

contributed for a year before leaving the island

Her mom had an unusual bounce in her steps

are also able to resume making their contributions

when they returned overseas. Guess it is true,

to the Trust with a waiting time of one year. They returned home overseas. It would take some planning, but she had time. Whether it

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there is no place like home.l


Feature

LET's GET...

Nooking! By Rochelle Bonitto

The Webster dictionary defines a

a. b. c.

nook

as:

An interior angle formed by two meeting walls; A secluded or sheltered place or part (e.g. every nook and cranny); A small often recessed section of a larger room.

However, whilst we have these very specific definitions, for the sake of this article, a nook is that comfortable and purposeful spot in your home, whether under a window, a staircase or placed at a perpendicular angle aimed at separating your kitchen from another living space, it’s a nook!

continued...

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Feature

Despite the fact that a true book lover, gets lost in a book in any space, we have to admit that there are certain spaces with the ambiance that create an even greater reading experience. These areas are very comfortable and special. If you have searched your home for a space that provokes a feeling of excitement of the intent to get lost in an adventurous book, and you have not found it, then let’s get nooking!

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Creating a cozy reading nook in your home is quite easy. The most economical way is to identify a space that can be easily transformed, that space that does not require the removal of walls or any permanent fixtures.

It’s important to understand that the most inspiring reading spots require way less effort. You can transform a closet into a nook or put a cozy bench beside a staircase or even place a set of colorful cushions and bean bags under a canopy. Either way the whole intent is to inspire reading adventures.

continued...

continued...

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Feature When creating a reading nook, there are some things that are basic requirements. These include:

1.

You need plenty of plush textiles. Use throw pillows and knitted blankets;

2.

Use scented candles, task lights or string lights, these actually give the space a warm feeling;

3.

Add inspiring art pieces, things that inspire thoughts and talks;

4.

Install a side table or night stand, something you can place your tea, drink and/or snacks on;

5.

Ensure you have proper lighting, specifically light that can focus on the book in your hand;

6.

Of course, last but by no means least, ensure that you have very soft and comfortable furniture and a book shelf that is within arm’s reach.

So let’s do it. Let’s create that space that inspires you and others to curl up with a cup of tea and dive into an imaginary universe that is steered by the adventures of words and turning pages. Just grab a book and let’s get nooking! l

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Feature

To Have and to Hold:

Outdoor Date Night Ideas During

Quarantine

By Shauna Gae Clarke

T

he majority of the world, if not everyone around the globe, is currently facing a very daunting situation of being stuck at home during this Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and not knowing what to do with themselves, yet alone, what to do to maintain the fun, bond and closeness with those they love most.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had several negative impacts on our mental health, resulting in many persons feeling stressed, withdrawn and even experiencing depression. Moreover, a lot of our time is consumed with trying to find ways to keep our children engaged and happy, so much so, that we forget to take care of ourselves. However, it is important and certainly necessary, that we take time to re-energize, re-centre, have some fun and to also work

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on preserving our relationships with our partners. One way to accomplish this is by going on regular dates! “But how?” You may ask, being that we are under quarantine and subject to nightly curfews. Well, you can absolutely utilize your own space for outdoor dates, quarantine style! With that said, here are several quarantine date night ideas for you and your other half to enjoy without having to leave home!


Backyard BBQ This is an actual event in the entertainment industry that costs thousands of dollars to attend. But you can have your own backyard BBQ at home that will cost little to no money, as you may already have all the ingredients you need in your refrigerator and pantry! So, fire up the grill, throw on your favourite foods and enjoy a nice meal in the backyard! Add some more flavour to the evening by hanging lights and turning on some good music in the background and dancing the night away, while you prepare a meal together! Cooking is a fun activity that you can do with your better half, that will definitely bring you closer to each other.

Stargazing This activity is not only calming and romantic, but it also costs zero dollars! Go ahead and get comfortable on the roof or snuggle up on your lawn and have a conversation about whatever (or just be quiet if you wish) with your significant other, as you observe the glorious night sky, with all its celestial wonders and sparkling beauty!

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Sunset/Paint and Sip Plan a date night that involves watching the sun set as you sip a glass of wine. If you are in an ideal location to experience this marvel, make sure you are prepared (wine glass and observation position ready), so that you can catch the sun as it disappears beneath the horizon. If you are not in a location to watch the sun set, you can plan a paint and sip date night. Prepare your materials (set up an area with paint, brushes, water, canvas, etc.) beforehand and have your wine ready. You and your partner can enjoy a well-deserved moment of solitude and leisure together to put your mind at ease.

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Garden Picnic by Candlelight Flowers, plants and trees provide an amazing atmosphere that guarantees calm and relaxation. Nothing beats the beauty and tranquillity of a moment in nature. Make use of your garden by setting out some seating furniture

or laying a comfortable blanket on the grass, carefully place your candles (where they are safe) to add to the ambiance of the moment and bring out that picnic basket; have a snack or a nice dinner with your spouse in the garden, while you breathe in the clean, crisp air that it produces.

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Play Games Regardless of the time of day, the season or occasion, playing games is always a good pass time that not only produces happiness hormones, but also promotes bonding and connection among participants. Have a games night with your spouse on the veranda or patio. Solve a puzzle or play a board game together. You can even create your own games. Whatever you do, just have fun!

Movie Nights Ditch the traditional movie night on the couch and create your own “Drive-in Theatre”! All you need is a projector and screen. Set up your equipment in your driveway or in your yard and be sure to do a test run to ensure that the movie is streaming well enough for you to see and hear. Bring out some blankets and your favourite snacks and cuddle up for the show. Seating arrangement is all up to you, but we recommend you choose to sit in your vehicle, after all, it is a “drive-in”. Now that you have the perfect set up, enjoy “a night at the movies”. l

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Creating YOUR

Sanctuary: Ideas on how colour can transform your home.

By Patricia Martin-Robinson

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A

s summer prepares to pay us a visit and your home beckons for an inexpensive inspired transformation, here are a few ways how a dash of colour can create your summer sanctuary. Warm, vibrant and bold colours are synonymous with summer. Though the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of colour is through painting, enhancing your space does not have to be limited to this medium.

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Oscar Wilde said that “mere colour… can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.” Colour has the power to impact our mood and emotions, along with the look and feel of your space. While accents are not restricted to walls, here are several budgetfriendly ways in which you can do it yourself (DIY) without creating a colour catastrophe.

Check the Trends

Accentuate As one enters a home, colour, or the lack thereof, becomes quickly evident. An accent wall is an inexpensive way to explore a new colour. However, you can also give your home a burst of colour by adding throw pillows, an accent rug or DIY painted art and craft. Take care in not combining too many colour accents in any one room.

continued...

Each year, the paint and design industries reveal exciting decorating ideas. These ideas will help you to develop your own style and colour concept, which can become the foundation for your project. This vision will ensure that your home becomes more than just adding paint or furniture but a creatively colourful masterpiece.

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Be Bold Don’t be afraid to use bold brilliant colours. Using stimulating and scintillating colours can brighten any home in preparation for summer. From daring and adventurous shades of red, to a burst of orange, a splash of golden yellow hues and a pop of warm lush green. These colours can be represented by flowers, curtains, painted furniture, and bed sheets to create a warm stately haven.

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Explore Earthy Dare not forget the neutral palettes which are complementary to the bold summer colours. Earth tones such as beige, brown or grey can also be coupled with metallics like gold and silver… bronze and copper accents. A combination of earthy and bold can leave your space warm and welcoming and can be achieved by using art, a blanket, or even dark wooden furniture.

Find the Balance Feng shui is translated as the way of wind and water and is an ancient Chinese art of arranging … space in an environment to achieve harmony and balance. It can be useful in helping you to transform your home into a soothing sanctuary by removing clutter along with creating a balance with your colours and décor, while simultaneously improving your quality of life.

Your home should always feel like your safe haven. What better way to welcome summer than with inspiring ways to update and improve your space? Take a step towards a transformational experience that can result in a spatial and mental catharsis. l


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By Shauna Gae Clarke

Fire

:

Six Critical Steps to Fireproofing your Home!

I

t is a most shocking ordeal to have to

you think about the hard work and sacrifices

receive a call from a neighbour or the

that you have made and may still be investing,

police while you are away from home, to

into accomplishing one of the biggest goals

inform you that your house is on fire, or

in life for anyone; having a home to call your

to have to be the one summoning the

own. Unfortunately, this is the reality for

fire brigade for help to save your home.

many persons who have actually experienced

Even more depressing is the overwhelming

losing their homes to a raging blaze. It is for

thoughts that begin to flood your mind, when

this reason that we want to provide you with

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several important steps to fireproofing your home, so that you will be able to enjoy this investment for a very long time.

1) KNOWLEDGE IS POWER Being in the know is the surest way to help you prevent or stop a fire from causing extensive damage. We encourage you to conduct some amount of research or reading on the causes of fires and what you can do to prevent them. Implement all the knowledge that you have acquired into fireproofing and securing your home. Additionally, ensure that you have contact information at hand, for the fire brigade and/or the police station nearest to you, so that you can act quickly, if you are ever faced with this situation. Teach your family, especially young children, about the dangers of fires and educate them about fire safety dos and don’ts. After all, knowledge is power!

2) INVEST IN FIRE RESISTANT BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS We know that building a house is a very exciting process; as it should be! While purchasing materials to construct that dream house, one may consider the type of materials being used, as they relate to their resistance to disasters, such as fires. For the new home owner, it may be all about the aesthetics. But, it is extremely important that you look into procuring materials to construct your home, that are best suited to guard against both natural and man-made disasters. Your best bet to accomplishing this is by using noncontinued...

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flammable materials. Though this may be on the more expensive side, it is also the most effective. Install fire-resistant glass windows, use non-combustible roofing materials and opt for a concrete structure instead of board, if you can, etc. Besides, even with these materials you can still have the fine finishes and picturesque unit that you have always imagined!

PS. Try not to join your property to that of your neighbour’s (if at all possible). If in case your neighbour’s house should become inflamed, the chance or likelihood of the fire spreading to yours

3) HIRE A PROFESSIONAL ELECTRICIAN We cannot stress it enough! Employing trained and certified professionals to carry out electrical services will save you a lot of trouble! For one, they know what they are doing! Furthermore, working with electricity is extremely dangerous. If you do not employ electricians with the right expertise, safety training, and equipment, they not only risk their safety, but yours too! If installations and/or repairs are not done correctly, they may very well create longterm safety hazards in the form of electrical shocks and fire!

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4) INSTALL FIRE SAFETY AND PREVENTION EQUIPMENT Having a fire extinguisher in your home is always a good idea! This small but compact piece of fire safety equipment may very well be the reason your house still stands. Teach each family member how to properly use the fire extinguisher, so that everyone is able to handle the equipment with care. You can also install a smoke detector inside your property that will make an alarm and act as a warning to the family that there may possibly be a fire somewhere. This gives you more time to evacuate or call for help before the fire spreads.

5) KEEP TREES AND HEDGES PRUNED Yes! Your wild trees and hedges can cause fires. Trees and hedges can become intertwined with cables from light posts or utility wires and cords that you may have hanging in and around your property. Pruning overgrown trees and hedges so that they do not get entangled with wires will prevent fires. continued...

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6) MONITOR INTENTIONAL FIRES Under the Country Fires Act and the Public Health (Nuisance) Regulations, it is an offence to light fires without permission and not adhering to the laws attract fines. However, if you are granted permission by the authorities to light a fire for whatever reason, please ensure that you monitor the flames, whether large or small. Do not ever leave a fire unattended! A blaze can quickly spiral out of control, resulting in damage to property, injuries or even loss of life, if it is not being properly monitored! l

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TIPS for the Ultimate MAN CAVE

I

t’s a man’s world but many have asked;

By Jason McNeish

is it really? No, this is not a think piece on gender normatives. I am only talking about the business of décor, in particular

decorating one’s space. For many men, it’s usually a case of “honey, it’s up to you” but for those of us men who have not yet entered into ‘happily ever after’, we’ve had to do it ourselves. It can be an uphill task but quite a learning experience. Take colours for example; the human eye can see about one million different shades. So red is not just red. There is wine red, barn red, carmine, cardinal red, cornell red, cinnabar; (takes a breath, I had to google that) see what I am talking about? continued...

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Feature I wanted to share a little of what I have learnt in creating my own man cave so here are my tips, dos and don'ts for the single man jumping into the world of décor.

It’s personal: While we can get inspiration from HGTV, GQ Magazine, Property Brothers or any other content provider, at the end of the day décor is personal and you want it to reflect your own style, taste and colour palette. Bear in mind as well, humans are dynamic so don’t think you are stuck with the choices you make today when creating your space. I started out with bright accent walls. Five years ago, my home was a burst of teal, ultramarine and a golden yellow kitchen. Today, it’s grey walls and black and white furniture. My pop of colour now comes from bed linen, curtains, bean bags and other accessories.

Function inspires form: What breaks up traditional home décor are the little spaces that you create based on your individual needs. I am an entertainer, so throughout my home are spaces that can facilitate entertainment. A small gathering of my bredrins can easily fit around the island in the kitchen. For a more party vibe, you can, like I have, consider a wet bar which flows into a pergola. If you have the yard space, you may also consider a gazebo to the back or side of the property.

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Function inspires furniture: Comfort is key in the home and the key to comfort is the right furniture. We established that I am an entertainer and so my furniture easily accommodates different styles of entertaining. So tall stools go well with the kitchen island. There are also some other pieces that I have invested in such as a sectional that comfortably seats 8-10 persons (maybe 12 if couple people "small up"). My most recent piece of furniture is a 10 seater dining table. You have no idea how easy it made hosting family dinner last Christmas.

Size matters: Forget what you’ve heard. No one wants to watch the latest episode of ‘Power’ on a Sunday evening, on a 32’ TV. Straight up, that’s just likkle bit a tv! Now don’t get me

Tech it out:

wrong, I am not suggesting anyone should

Its 2021! Technology is here to stay and

live beyond their means. My point is simply

keeps getting better. One of the things we

that in the absence of statement pieces

can do is incorporate it in our homes. The

around the home and antique furniture, a

options are varied. From simple automation

large television set does the trick. Add to it

of appliances and lights into one application

a personalized backboard and perhaps an

such as Alexa, to more sophisticated forms

LED light and your guests will easily forget

of automation that allow for energy savings.

the other features of your home. For me,

I’m connected to my gadgets for work and

it’s a television set but for you, it may be

monitoring the social scene so what I have

something else that you want to stand out.

found useful is a charging port built into the

Whatever it is, find it and when you do, make

kitchen island. I’ve also re-distributed my Wi-

it BIG!

Fi so there’s good connectivity at all points of the house. continued...

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Feature Mek sure yuh can flex: Now this is a two in one. The first is, make room for exercise. Whatever your age, health and wellness should be high on your agenda so carve out a little space that allows you to do some exercise. A back patio, the corner of a spare bedroom or the laundry room can always hold a rack of weights, a few dumbbells and maybe a bench that allows you to flex.

Be flexible: You will outgrow the space! Honey will come and maybe the pitter patter of little feet and that often means changes. And if none of that happens, you too may outgrow the space and want to try something new. For that, consider temporary structures such as dry walls for some areas or furniture that you can move from one room in the house to another, that still gives functionality and flexibility to the space. My pull-out sofa bed, is now my ideation couch in my home office. Never be so attached to the current space you’re in that making changes to enhance and improve becomes a challenge.

Those are my hits, tips and tidbits that have worked for me along my homeownership journey. On that note, let me remind you that homeownership is a journey that starts long before you start saving for your deposit and continues long after you’ve made your last mortgage payment. Wherever you are on that journey, embrace it and keep moving forward. l

Jason McNeish is a marketing consultant and pioneering home coach. You can email Jason at jason@neishcreative.com.

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By Kadian Chin Matheson

NAVIGATING the HOME BUYING PROCESS Step-by-Step guide to buying a home H O M E & A W AY

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B

uying a home is one of the greatest investments you will make. While it is a big deal, the buying process can seem confusing. You might feel overwhelmed at the prospect of undertaking this journey. However, getting guidance and accurate information from the onset will help to make your journey smoother. The steps below are intended to help you successfully navigate the buying process.

1. DETERMINE IF YOU ARE

Along with the cost of the property, there are other costs that you will need to cover.

k

You will need to pay a deposit This is 5% to 10% of the cost of the property. You will need to pay this to the vendor once your offer has been accepted and the sales agreement has been delivered, vetted and accepted by you.

To bolster your deposit, consider using your NHT contributions refund. The NHT’s Contributions

FINANCIALLY READY.

Refund Toward Deposit (CRTD), which allows you

Do this by getting an eligibility or affordability letter from the NHT or any other mortgage financing institution. The eligibility letter will tell you how much the institution is willing to lend, the interest rate to be applied and an estimate of your future mortgage payments.

not yet due, towards your deposit.

Remember, you can combine your NHT benefits with loans from some commercial banks and building societies. Ask your mortgage financing institution about the NHT's Joint Finance Mortgage Programme.

to apply all your contributions, even those that are

k

You will need to commission a Surveyor and Valuator

The fees for the surveyor and valuation reports is paid to the person(s) you have contracted. You will be required to provide both reports to your mortgage financing institution when submitting your loan application.

k

You will need to pay the closing costs The closing cost is an accumulation of the registration, stamp duty and legal fees. Generally, these fees are about 13% of the cost of the property.

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You will pay two sets of legal fees. The first is to your attorney for representing you. On average this is 2% of the cost of the property. The second is half of the vendor’s legal fees. This is a shared cost or half cost. The fees cover the preparation of the sales agreement, letters of possession and letters of utilities. The registration and stamp suty fees are also half costs. The transfer cost is borne by the vendor.

3. Engage a Lawyer to represent you. The vendor will have an attorney to protect his/her interests, hire one to protect yours. An experienced attorney will ensure that you are signing a fair agreement. The attorney will conduct any negotiation or follow-up on your behalf and ensure that all documents received from the vendor’s attorney are accurate.

A point to note, if during the process of registration and transfer of documents the Tax Administration Office of Jamaica (TAJ) determines that the property is being sold well below value, it may increase the cost of transfer. The difference will be borne by you.

Your attorney will also assist with calculating the transactional costs associated with buying the property, and will also advise when transactional fees should be paid.

2. Have

4. Consider using a Realtor.

an idea of where you

want to live. Having established how much you can afford, determine where you want to live. Use the eligibility letter to guide your decision. Tour communities you are interested in to get a feel for the area. Consider the surroundings, available infrastructure and amenities along with the areas resale potential. Aim for somewhere you can see yourself building a life. Remember, dream homes are created over time.

If you haven’t yet identified a property, consider using a realtor. A reliable realtor can make a world of difference in locating a suitable property. They are professionals who will provide listings of properties that meet your requirements. They are also able to help you craft an offer once you have identified a suitable property. Best of all you do not pay them. Realtors are paid by the vendor.

5. Find a property, Make an offer Once you have identified a property you like, with the assistance of your realtor, make an offer. Once your offer has been accepted you will be required to pay the deposit. continued...

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6.

Review your

Agreement A draft sales agreement will be sent to your attorney. Carefully review this document with your lawyer. Seek clarification for anything that you do not understand. Pay special attention to the fineprint. Ensure you are comfortable with the agreement.

8.

Almost There…

While your attorney navigates the legal aspect of your purchase, your mortgage financing institution will deal with the mortgage arrangements.

9.

Just a bit more…

All being well, legal loose ends having been tied up, including the transfer of the purchase price balance to the vendor, you will receive a final set of documents from the vendor’s attorney. These documents will include letter of possession, property tax certificate and letters to utility companies.

7.

Submit your loan

Application Once the agreement has been signed by both parties and the deposit paid, complete and submit your loan application with supporting documents. The signed sales agreement, purchaser’s statement of accounts, copy of the registered title, utility letters and up-to-date property tax receipt will be sent to you by the vendor’s attorney. Remember, loan application requirements vary for institutions. Get a complete checklist from the institution you intend to utilize.

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10. Let the excitement begin! Voila, you are now a property owner. Begin making plans for the amazing journey of creating your dream home. l


Feature Feature

Do's & Don'ts

of CHOOSING PETS.

A

nimals are one of life’s greatest gifts, and having one (or many) in your home has long been correlated with benefits to our mental health. With the pandemic taking a toll on people due to our limited ability to socialize, there has been a worldwide spike in the number of people getting pets for company. Unfortunately, many owners fail to realize that taking an animal into their homes - whether a puppy, a kitten, a hamster, a turtle, a bird or a goat - requires careful consideration for the health and happiness of the animal as well as you and your family.

By Dr. Briana Schwapp When choosing to get a pet, it’s essential to be realistic about the type of space and lifestyle that you have. If you’re very busy or very active, have children, live in a small space, have low fencing, or have close neighbours - these are all important factors to consider in the selection of a pet. All animals require the same basic factors to thrive - they should be provided with adequate nutrition, should be free to express their normal behaviours and should be free from pain or suffering. If you cannot provide all of these then do not get a pet.

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All dog breeds are NOT the same, and ‘cute’ or ‘cool’ does not mean that a dog is suited for you. There are energetic, reactive dogs better suited for active and experienced owners, and there are more relaxed, even-tempered breeds suited for first-time owners, families with children and small spaces. When it comes down to it, choosing the right pet or breed can save human and animal lives and can drastically reduce animal suffering through abandonment or neglect. Take the ‘Dalmatian effect’, which refers to the effect of the movie 101 Dalmatians - it caused a huge spike in popularity of that breed. Unfortunately, not many people did their research, or they would have known that Dalmatians are generally high strung, energetic dogs, that are sometimes not good with children! This led to hundreds of these dogs being poorly bred for profit and abandoned. We are seeing a similar effect with Huskies and Akitas now due to the popularity of Game of Thrones, and again these are difficult dogs to raise and maintain and are just not suited to everybody. Now, it’s not impossible to have a clean and stylish space while having animals. It’s just essential that (after choosing the right pet) owners do extensive planning to establish a balanced environment in the home. One of my best tips for pet owners, especially for dogs and cats, is to establish boundaries with your pet from the very first day. One of the best ways to do this is to crate train your animal. Crate training helps to teach boundaries to the animal as a baby, and will help you to maintain a clean space even when house

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training. Puppies should be kept in their own clean area until they are fully vaccinated, and this will also help to keep the puppy safe. One of the most common emergencies we see are dogs and cats that have eaten something they shouldn’t have when unsupervised - whether socks, underwear or something poisonous. Teaching boundaries and supervising by crate training and having a designated area for the animal can prevent so many emergencies and can save your furniture! For animals (namely dogs) that will eventually live outside, it’s important that they have adequate shelter from heat and rain, live in a clean environment, and that they have enough space for the level of activity that they need. Many home owners’ biggest concern is waste in their yard - this is inevitable but having a clean up schedule will save you a lot of trouble. We all want our animals to respect our beautiful landscaping, and creating boundaries with good training is key. Unfortunately no matter how much we explain to our dogs that the garden bed is NOT for digging, they may never fully understand that if they were never taught boundaries in the first place. It’s also extremely important to ensure that household plants are not harmful to your pets. Always research a new plant before bringing it home for example, lilies are fatally toxic to cats, and popular sago palms are fatally toxic to dogs. That being said, when getting a pet it’s best to make peace with the fact that they’re animals and they will make mistakes, just like children. If you’re not emotionally prepared to possibly


lose a pair of shoes, a rug, or some plants, then do not get a pet. Raising animals takes a lot of patience and care, and providing the right type of environment can make or break the animal you raise. Time and money are a major part of the investment in an animal, no matter what species or breed. This is something that should be a major part of your consideration - time has to be invested into training, care and socialization, and money is a major part of their well-being - for food, enrichment, and especially for health care. Good health care comes at a cost (yes, even for animals!) and that is your responsibility as the owner. Yes, even our hardy mongrels (sometimes lovingly called Royal Caribbean Terriers or Jamaican Brown Dogs) require the exact same standard and frequency of healthcare as any other dog. As a veterinarian one of the most amazing parts of my job is witnessing the unique bonds between animals and their owners. I always say that animals make life better, and opening your home and heart to a pet doesn’t mean that you’ll have to sacrifice the beauty or cleanliness of your space. If you think it might be for you, then it could be one of the best decisions that you make. Don’t forget our JSPCA and Montego Bay Animal Haven where you may find your perfect animal match! l Dr. Briana Schwapp is a veterinarian. She can be contacted at 876 431 2275 or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Drbrischh

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N O I T A T I L I B A H E HOME R During the COVID-19 PANDEMIC

L

ast year, the COVID-19 pandemic was introduced to the shores of Jamaica, an island whose people pride themselves on the meeting and greeting of everyone. The pandemic has affected the lives of every Jamaican, causing them to adopt

By Winston Roberts

to new norms of social distancing, restricted movements, and increased hygienic practices. These new norms have resulted in the home becoming an all-purpose space. The home now houses your child’s school, your office space, your fitness centre, an entertainment zone, your place of worship; the home is now buzzing with all types of activities. Despite these new demands of the home, most were not designed with COVID-19 in mind, consequently, the idea of repairing/improving one’s home to adapt to the new norms is now of utmost priority. The following are some considerations that may be afforded to renovating one’s home with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind:

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Perimeter Fencing/ Boundary Wall – I know you may be thinking this is an odd one, however, it came to my realization one day while driving through a community with mostly single dwelling residences. At the entrance gate of one of these properties, there was a notice which stated that, "due to the COVID-19 pandemic access to the premises may be restricted." As the notice suggests, access to the premises may be restricted by way of a properly constructed perimeter fence/wall, this may also be an important element of your property’s security plan. Consequently, a conversation may be had while individuals stand at the perimeter wall in a bid to maintain social distancing.

Mudroom – As we walk from the newly constructed perimeter wall, the next stop should be the entry of one's house. Because of the epidemiology of the pandemic, it is best suited that individuals enter the house after removing all items of clothing and personal effects that might have had a high risk of exposure to the virus whilst they were outdoors. Most houses in Jamaica were never designed with a mudroom, so consideration may be afforded to improve one’s home to incorporate same. In this location, one may install supplies and equipment that may be used for sanitization of self and personal effects before entry.

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Office Space – The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to adopt work from home policies where practicable, resulting in many Jamaicans working from home. Additionally, most schools are closed, resulting in children being schooled from home. This shift in workplace and school life has resulted in the need for office and learning spaces in the home. Some people will tell you that they find it hard to change their mindset, to working and learning from home. To reduce the challenges that may exist, the addition or repurposing of an existing room/ space into an office space may be the best solution. The same challenges facing adults are also affecting our children, and as such, it is important that a suitable learning environment is provided for a child’s online classes. However, many companies may not return to pre-COVID working conditions, so it is important that there are suitable office like spaces at home from where you may operate.

Entertainment/Recreational Spaces – The pandemic has resulted in the restrictions of many entertainment as recreational activities. Consequently, it is an opportune time for homeowners to undertake projects that will satisfy their entertainment/recreational needs. Whether to build a green space, a pool, a home gym, a family entertainment room etc... Whatever your entertainment and recreation needs, be sure to consider same while being mindful of the regulations that prohibit large gatherings.

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Kitchen – I am certain you have heard a friend or two who has never boiled water in their life claim chef status since the pandemic. The kitchen has always been a popular option to be improved by homeowners. Now more than ever, greater focus is being directed at improving one’s kitchen space and amenities given that individuals are home more, resulting in increased meal preparation.

Isolation Room – With COVID-19 being air-borne, it is important that individuals who might have been exposed to the virus be isolated for fear of contaminating others in the home. Consequently, the need to have an isolation room. This is very important in an effort to protect other individuals in the home, especially where someone is mandated to be quarantined for the prescribed 14-day isolation period. This isolation room may also be used as a guest room (the room must be sterilized in the event it was used for isolating a suspected/confirmed case). A guest room may come in handy for the moments where an individual failed to, “tan a dem yaad, n’ deh a fi yuh yaad n’ the curfew ketch dem deh”.

It is important to note that the information provided above should not substitute any guideline provided by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Additionally, it is advised that before any homeowner seeks to undertake any home improvement/repair work, they should consult their municipal coorporation and

a professional, whether an attorney-at-law who will advise you of their legal rights and obligations associated with any proposed work on the property; an engineer who will advise on the technical factors that must be considered; and a quantity surveyor who will advise on the costs associated with the proposed work. l Winston Roberts is a project management consultant and attorney-at-law. You can email Winston at winston.roberts@live.com H O M E & A W AY

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AIC

SU

A A J

M

RE

By Danielle Edwards

AN

A E TR

O

n the southern coast of Jamaica where the sea excitedly greets the shore is a whimsical escape unlike any other. Set against the backdrop of Caribbean

blue is the family-run Jakes Hotel in

Frenchmans Bay, Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth. Known for its avant-garde architectural stylings, Jakes has been a haven for A-list celebrities, families, artists and backpackers alike. Rated as one of the best hotels by Travel Magazine, “a local gem” is just one of the many ways visitors have described their Jakes experience. Home and A Way sat down with Jakes’ proprietor Jason Henzell to delve a little deeper into what makes the resort so unique, but first a little history.

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“Jakes was my mother’s idea” chirped a proud Jason. Established in 1993, Jakes, named after the family’s parrot, is the brain child of Sally Henzell. If the name Henzell has not rung a bell by now, she is the wife to the late Perry Henzell, highly acclaimed scriptwriter and director of the Harder They Come - the first motion picture in Jamaica to catapult reggae onto the worldwide music scene. Sally’s attachment to Treasure Beach find’s its genesis in the 1940s where her parents bought an acre of land and built their family home Treasure Cott (short for Treasure Cottage). Sally later purchased property nearby her family home and built a restaurant, and a two-bedroom

"

Unique History

Jakes was my mother’s idea

"

cottage to host family and friends - was essentially the start to Jakes. Jason, seeing the potential in his mother’s new venture left his career in the financial industry to help to expand the business. This dynamic mother-son duo transformed the two-bedroom cottage and restaurant into a fully functioning resort with a restaurant, spa, pool and bar with 84 uniquely designed cottages and rooms. continued...

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“Colourful villas, mosaic pathways… Jakes is an arty, Gaudi-esque paradise. We Instagrammed as we’ve never done before.”

"

"

Cosmopolitan, The World’s Most Instagrammable Hotels

"

My mother is an artist...

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"


Colourful Rebellion Jakes Hotel is characterized by an artful rusticity which informs the entire layout of the property. From the quirky car stamped with the Jakes name at the entrance to the poolside bar, Jakes is indeed the road less travelled. A colourful rebellion against the blackened south coast sand, Jakes can be easily described as bohemian with hints of shabby island chic. It is a mellifluous coming together of Sally’s inspiration from Barcelona, Morocco and India with subtle notes of influence from Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi. According to Jason, Jakes is a bespoke testament to his mother’s love for people, art and nature. “My mother is an artist therefore building the rooms was more than just laying blocks to construct a space for people to stay, it was her vision to create a space where people could come to be inspired. She custom designed every room so that no two were the same and challenged every bricklayer, workman, carpenter and architect to see themselves as artists in their own right,” he added. The open concept living space of the cottages is colourful, fresh and airy and truly feels like a home away from home. The décor is predominantly coastal with the traditional West Indian elements of hanging nets, planter chairs and sturdy wooden bed frames. Playful artwork, twig awnings, tile mosaics and brightly coloured curtains and pillows.

continued...

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Feature My mother was repurposing before it was trendy...

"

While the resort has the offerings of modernity like air-conditioning, internet and cable, you don’t go to Jakes to escape nature, you go there to be very much part of it. The architecture literally beckons you outside. Whether you want to feast or just lounge around, guests can take advantage of their balconies, patios with sunbeds, private gardens, or Moroccan styled roof terraces with daybeds. Most of the cottages are set on the craggy and rocky waterfront. What better way to wake up than sun-kissed mornings with a burst of ocean spray. A key feature of the resort…outside showers. However this isn’t your typical enamel bath. These showers are beautifully enclosed with carved wood, rocks and shells allowing guests to enjoy their bath time in privacy and solitude. If outside showers are not your preference, not to worry, each bathroom has its own shower and features body care products from their signature line Driftwood. A running theme…glass. From the showers to the bedrooms, glass embedded walls are a stand-out feature and when the sun hits it just right, it is undoubtedly a sight to behold. “My mother was repurposing before it was trendy. Sustainability is something she wholeheartedly believes in, and the driving force behind who we are today. So as long as it could be used, she would use it,” Jason informs.

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Going Green Among the list of amenities is a salt-water pool. Water is pumped to and from the sea which is not only sustainable but according to Jason, a health and wellness enthusiast, salt-water is known to have great benefits for healing and overall health. Jakes also uses solar energy to power the facility,

"

with 90 solar panels on property for photovoltaics, the hotelier is looking to add more.

Community First The décor isn’t the only beautiful feature of this

“Green might be a buzzword for some, but it’s the rootstock of Jakes, the 49-room Bohemian hideaway on Jamaica’s Treasure Beach. Spend the night in quirky cottages where seashell-androck walls assure privacy in outdoor showers, recycled bottles simulate stained glass, and twig awnings provide shade.”

"

AFAR, 10 Dreamy Bohemian Beach Hotels

hotel, their business operations are anchored by the practice of community tourism. A staunch supporter of brand Jamaica, they continue to support the fishermen and farmers within the community by only serving food that is locally cultivated. They’ve taken this a step further with their popular “Farm to Table” experience and monthly Farm & Fisherfolk dinner at the seaside where guests can dine under a moonlit sky. They also offer farm and bike tours, walks and hikes to raise awareness of local food production practices as well bring business to members of the community. continued...

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When asked why so big on community, Jason

opportunities for sports and education. A notable

simply responds “Jakes is nothing without the

achievement is the Treasure Beach Sports Park

people of Treasure Beach. Having a resort is not

and Academy, a 17 acre hub where over 1,500

just about tourism, it’s about impact, co-existing

local athletes play sports, learn teamwork and

and safeguarding the interests of the people. If

leadership skills to ready themselves for jobs

we include the community everyone wins. More

and scholarships far beyond the park’s grounds.

people can take care of their households which

The aim, according to Jason is to create an

creates a happier and healthier community. It

environment that caters to the holistc fusion

is for this reason we lobbied to remain a low-

of sports and wellness as a conduit for sports

density destination. By capping the occupancy at

development.

any given time we ensure that this continues to maintain the feeling of a village.”

They also developed a sports and education programme, EduSport in partnership with the

Community support by Jakes and its proprietors

United Nations International Children’s Fund

goes beyond what you put on your plate, through

which has since impacted 37,000 students across

the work of their non-profit “Bredrin” Breds

225 primary schools islandwide.

for short, they’ve done quite a bit to expand

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At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Jakes was the first resort to offer the Ministry of Health and Wellness access to the entire property, from the villas, the restaurant and the rooms for the quarantine of COVID-19 patients. “But weren’t you concerned that it would affect your business?” we asked. “Not at all because it was just the right thing to do. We are our brother’s keeper” Sometimes we tend to forget how blessed we are to call this beautiful island home. In the midst of all that may be wrong, dare I say that Jakes is just one example of all that’s right. Jakes is not your cookie cutter, brand in-a –box resort, they are truly the heart and soul of the fishing village of Treasure Beach and authentically Jamaican. This Hotel is more than a hideaway, it’s more than its island chic rooms or outside showers even more than its accolades, it’s the chapter in Jamaica’s history that we ought to be very proud of. l

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Feature

MINIMALISM in

By Lajoune Thomas

A

dmittedly, one of the greatest pleasures in life is retail therapy. Walking through the newly stocked aisles of your favourite store or going online and buying something to reward yourself for making it to Wednesday, or simply to ease the heartache when you realise that it’s just ‘preMonday’. In recent times, with social distancing and staying home being the new normal, it is increasingly important to tap into that feel-good experience to cope with the stresses and the uncertainties that seem to be the prevailing reality. Of course (though not speaking as

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a licenced mental health practitioner) retail therapy is a healing experience. But, let’s ponder the reality. After wantonly indulging in this form of self-care and the euphoria of unboxing your newest ‘must-have’ has passed, then what? Boxes piled high in the corner (waiting to be used), stuffing the closet (or the appropriate storage space) with your newest acquisition or leaving it on the table for future use; then something distracts you and you realise that you had forgotten to order something else. Why is being awesome so hard?!

Let’s consider some situations: • Having a closet full of clothes but you tend to repeat the same outfits. • There’s crockery in the breakfront that would crumble if touched because they have never been used. • While searching for an item you have to sift through things you didn’t even remember you had. #Guilty? You could consider minimalism.

Just to clear the air, minimalism isn’t about having an empty house with a straw mattress on the cold floor accented by an enamel mug containing a toothbrush and the back of a broken chair boasting your entire wardrobe. Even Jesus was warm in a manger and received gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. In its most basic sense, the minimalistic lifestyle is about reducing waste. Having initially struggled with the concept because contingency planning is second nature (I have three ‘emergency neckties’ in my office desk), it is increasingly clear that being intentional when acquiring items is essential. In being intentional, you ensure that everything has a clear role in meeting your needs and improving the quality of your life. Undoubtedly, although similar, no two persons are the same. This means that ‘necessary’ for you may be something another person wants no part of (and that’s okay). To apply the minimalist strategy, start by evaluating what you use with some degree of regularity. If you are already a minimalist (but only in spirit), there is somewhere in your home where you stored an item that you didn’t want continued...

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Feature

to get rid of because it may come in handy one day. Except, that was ten years ago, you don’t recall ‘resting’ it there and the opportunity to use it still has not presented itself… or worse, the opportunity came and you completed the task without even remembering that special item. That’s waste. Next, use what you have to get the full return on your investment. Seriously, if you have 30 pairs of jeans and have only worn the same five within the past year (let’s just overlook 2020 in this case) it may be an indication that you are not getting the most out of your possessions. Or what about having 87 plates but you live alone? To compound this, whenever you entertain more than three persons you grab for the disposables (there’s no judgement from me, bulk washing up is truly daunting.) The other 84 plates and 25 pants are simply not being used! That means you are not getting your money’s worth. It may be time to contemplate what can be done with the items you decide to part with. Let’s start with the three Rs: • Recycle – if possible, play your part in saving the environment. • Retail – explore what can be sold (look at that, generating additional income) • Redistribute – donating to charities or individuals who may have better use for the item.

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Minimalism may not be the easiest choice to make. But there are benefits, including: • Having an aesthetically pleasing environment - Clutter is not appealing. Need I say more? • Getting your money’s worth – Using the items you acquire to the fullest extent. With the money saved through curbing unnecessary spending, you can put it towards making that deposit for your dream home or tackling home improvement projects. • Living your best life – instead of toiling away searching through, or cleaning, things you never use you could spend the time enjoying activities that you love. Whether it is reading, gaming, going on adventures with loved ones (we may have to shelve this one until “COVID-19 stop keep”) or sleeping! Just a gentle reminder, quality is an important element of minimalism. Acquiring subpar goods is not the same as reducing your waste. Consider a subpar item that falls apart on the second use versus how long a quality item can serve your needs. With some attention to quality, you can extend the service life of your goods and consider investing the savings from potentially replacing a substandard item. Start small, make changes and repeat. l


Feature

The Annual

$

“Return”

$

$

By Jillian Warren

W

hoop whoop!!!! Whether it's the end of semester and you’re returning home or taking a long overdue break from work and heading off on vacation; returning home always ignites a sense of excitement, though not as epic as Buju Banton’s return to his homeland Jamaica in December 2019 to adoring welcoming fans. Whatever your status, wherever you may be or coming from, returns are usually met with some measure of anticipation. So too is filing your annual returns. Speaking of “filing” my mind kind of digressed. In the Caribbean “filing” may mean something else. Instinctively the first thought to come to mind is “foreign” and a response you

could expect on hearing the word “filing” is “di filing come through.” This could be a question or a statement all in one. If you are residing in the United States, the W-02 or the new W-04 (for 2020 tax filing) may come immediately to mind. However in this instance, we are referring to employers and those who are self employed. In Jamaica, employers are legally required to file annual returns or a S02 with the Tax Administration of Jamaica. The annual returns outline the statutory deductions for that company’s employees who are referred to as “Pay as You Earn” contributors. Self employed individuals are also legally required to file using a S04 or S04A. Whatever category you may fall in, the truth is, at the NHT,

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Feature

filing those “returns” counts because it is only through this process that one can access NHT benefits as a contributor.

Let’s look at a few cases of how your refund can also be used: -

A major benefit of making NHT contributions, apart from being eligible to access a benefit, is the ability to access your contributions refund which are held for seven years and refunded with interest in the eighth year. You may be thinking of a special treat for yourself, paying off a debt or investing. Here are some other great more long-term ways you could also make your contributions refund work for you.

Towards Reducing Loan

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Payments Matthew’s concern regarding the unexpected balance on his mortgage account was soon diminished when it was explained to him that generally, when contributions refund become due for payment they are posted to the mortgagor's principal balance each year until the loan is settled. This of course is in addition to his regular monthly mortgage payment which he pays via the NHT Online. Over time, his balance was reduced so he would eventually pay less interest and possibly pay off his loan earlier than expected.


Towards a Deposit for

Towards A Retirement

Purchasing Property

Plan – Building A

(CRTD)

Financial Cushion

Finding the “down payment” (usually between 5 and 15% of the sale price) towards the purchase of a residential property remains a challenge for many contributors. However, if they are purchasing a property being funded by an NHT mortgage the refund can be used to assist with covering the amount required. When Samantha was told that as a contributor she would be allowed to borrow contributions not yet due, she was taken aback. “I did not know that!” she exclaimed. Of course, the amount will depend on how much she actually contributed over the years. So, in some instances where the amount available via CRTD is not enough to satisfy the deposit requirement or complete the purchase of the property, the balance due as the deposit or to complete the purchase of the property must be paid by the contributor.

Surveys have shown that a large number of people do not have an emergency fund. For most people, not having a cushion and facing unexpected expenses means having to borrow to meet expenses even after retirement. Every cent will count. At age 65, after years of making payments or having deductions taken, a contributor can obtain a total refund of all amounts owed. Doctor Mitch has always lived by her grandmother’s motto “you can’t put all your eggs in one basket”. Instead of applying for her contributions refund when it became due, she opted to have it accumulate and apply for a total refund of all amounts upon retirement.

continued...

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Towards Estate

Towards Lifestyle

Planning – Leaving an

Changes – Special

Inheritance

Returns

For Richard, the organizer, as he looked at formalizing his will, should he die before the retirement age 65; he had the benefit of his annual return included in his will with instructions on how to distribute the amount to his beneficiaries to include unborn children. If he should pass, the executor or administrator appointed would be required to have the will probated and letters of administration done to guide the NHT with processing the claim for amounts due accordingly. Fancy that!

Our lives can change in an instant and may affect our ability to work. The National Insurance Scheme would be asked to certify the change in the contributor’s employment status so they can access available amounts to assist with challenges that could arise.

Filing those annual returns count, whether done by you or by an employer. So be sure that you update your records with any change in employment status, name change, etc. as soon as possible. Be sure to make your payments on time every time on or before the due dates/quarters and ensure that your return is received. You may sign up to access NHT Online to monitor the amounts accumulated or due for each year, regardless of where you reside. l

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Feature

Mosquito 1... Mosquito 2:

Eradicating

mosquitoes at home

By Rochelle Bonitto

I

t’s a beautiful evening, a light shower of rain served as a natural cooler for the ecosystem of a tropical paradise. You sit on your balcony enjoying the cool evening and feast your eyes

on the horizon. You look to your left toward the majestic mountains as you sip your soursop cocktail. It hasn’t been five minutes, yet you hear the most annoying buzzing sound...the infamous mosquito! continued...

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Suddenly your peace of mind is totally ruined

2020, Mrs. Charmaine Palmer-Cross, Chief

and before you know it, you are waging a war

Public Health Inspector of the Manchester

against this nuisance.

Health Department, shared her observations regarding the behavior of mosquitoes over

Scientists indicate that there are over 3000

the years. She said, just as it is with any

species of mosquitoes, scary right? The most

other living species, mosquitoes can become

popular species, the Aedes, Anopheles and

immune to chemical treatments. However,

Culex. However, the species that dominate

the Ministry of Health and Wellness remains

the Caribbean are the Aedes aegypti (L.) and

steadfast in maintaining a diverse portfolio

the Culex Quinquefasciatus.

of treatments used for vector control and as such rotates the treatments to prevent the

Throughout the years, public health systems

mosquitoes from becoming immune. Most

all over the world have fought to control

of these treatments are biological in nature.

mosquitoes in a bid to stem diseases such as

In that, they have been putting baby fish in

malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya,

tanks of water to eat mosquito larvae. This

yellow fever, filariasis, tularemia, dirofilariasis

treatment has yielded great success especially

and many others.

in areas of the country where residents rely on harvesting their own water.

In Jamaica, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has dedicated an entire unit of their

In addition, as we say in Jamaica, “prevention

Public Health division to carry out public

better than cure” as such public health has

education initiatives in relation to vector

become a buzz these days (no pun intended)

control in the country. In an interview in June

proactive

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measures

are

promoted

now


more than ever, and while the local public health facilities increase their efforts through mosquito

fogging

exercises

and

6. For

house plants, keep them in soil rather than water and for those plants you have in water, change that water every three days;

other

measures, public education has been about the fact that all is not lost as there are even more effective, pleasant and natural ways to avoid or destroy these tiny nuisances.

7.

Reduce vegetation around your home;

8. Effectively manage solid waste

There are elective activities that all households should consider that will assist with preventing

continued...

mosquito infestation. Households should:

1. Get rid of all unwanted water storage areas around your house;

2. If

you have to store water, keep it covered, preferably with mosquito net meshes;

3. Pour cooking oil on to the surface of the water that your store;

4. Inspect and or clean catchment gutters every four months or as needed;

5. Scrub

the edges of the containers as mosquito eggs can survive without water up to one year on the edges of your water storage containers;

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Now that we have explored the main preventive measures, let us look into what can be done naturally to repel mosquitoes. First up, lemongrass candles. Let me hear you say “SPA LIFE!!” Imagine your entire home or space smelling like you are at a spa. The aroma is to die for people! These candles naturally repel mosquitoes and at the same time provide some level of aromatherapy, as they assist you to sleep well. Even without lighting it, if placed in a small space, like a powder room or a small study/office, it keeps the area smelling really good. Next is tea tree oil. Tip a little in a container of boiling hot water. Tea tree oil doesn’t only repel mosquitoes it treats mosquito bites as well. Eucalyptus oil, this is also a great one. Ever wondered why mosquitoes don't bite your grandma? It is because she is always wearing an ointment with eucalyptus oil. True story guys! Not only is eucalyptus good for pain but it is also a very natural way of repelling

Journal of the American Mosquito Control

mosquitoes as verified by the U.S. based

Association, neem is more effective than DEET

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

as a repellent. As my grandmother would

(CDC).

say “Can you beat that?” All these years we considered DEET to create the strongest

Next up is neem. As confirmed by the Malaria

repelling effect against mosquitoes. However

Institute in India and in research cited in the

we should all be thankful for the wonderful

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world of scientific discoveries that has given

dilute, but as it relates to anything directly and

us options to repel these minute Draculas.

only affecting mosquitoes, well, not so much! Sounds harsh, but it is still good information.

Rosemary, oh the benefits!! This herb is good

I spent over two weeks researching in an effort

for so many things, it is usually used as a

to find out the true purpose of mosquitoes.

seasoning or spice for cooking, but little did

Why are they here? What is their purpose?

we know that a tip of rosemary oil can deter

Every bit of literature I could find spoke

insect larvae, particularly mosquitoes.

to their purpose to just annoy and spread diseases. I mean, what is our takeaway from

We have explored quite a few natural

all of this? Sometimes the smallest things can

repellents that can be bought in the form of

be the biggest issue. Sigh.

oils, a word to the wise, at full concentration, these oils can be harmful to human beings.

So to all, let's live mosquito free. We can do it,

If you have to use them directly on your skin

we are bigger than them! l

or in anything you intend to consume, please

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Feature

SOLARGADGETS! TECH By Jason Robinson

s

olar energy for homes and

solar system financing available through the

businesses continues to grow

NHT and other financial institutions, in the

globally and in Jamaica, moreso

early years, clients really had to pay in full up

in the latter due to affordability

front. This was a major hurdle for renewables

and

advances.

so companies like Solar Buzz had to get

As the benefits from a lower

creative in how we introduced the benefits

light bill and backup power from batteries

of solar energy and energy efficiency to the

become more appealing, more Jamaicans are

public.

technological

installing solar systems at their homes than ever before. The current pandemic has really

In 2011 when we launched Solar Buzz,

sparked an interest in solar for households

panels were sold for US$2.00/watt so a

as work from home and subsequently,

200watt panel cost US$400. Today solar

electricity bills soared in 2020. Rising costs

panels sell for US$0.30/watt so that same

of energy have always helped to motivate

200w panel now costs US$60. The dramatic

people to find ways of reducing their energy

fall in solar panel costs over the years has

bills but making the investment in a solar

helped to make solar more affordable.

system is not a quick decision due to the

Renewables were a very tough sell in 2011

initial cost. Although there is now attractive

so we introduced solar and energy efficiency

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gadgets in order to get people familiar with

For example, you may now start to turn the

the technology in their everyday use. Despite

fan/AC unit and lights off when you leave the

better accessibility to a solar solution, most

room, or replace the electric water heater

of the energy gadgets we introduced are

with a solar water heater based on what you

still relevant and requested by clients so we

observe with the energy monitor. Persons

continue to supply them.

can save thousands of dollars monthly as long as they make the effort to constantly

In 2011 Solar Buzz introduced Jamaica to

monitor their energy usage.

household energy monitoring at a time when rising energy costs had the country

Building on our energy tech products, we

in its grips. We saw energy bills skyrocket

introduced solar cell phone chargers such

and people were desperate to find low cost

as the Hybrid Light flashlight that also has

ways to save money. We answered the call

a built in battery bank for charging phones.

and launched the OWL energy monitor

The Hybrid Light solar cell phone charger

which allows persons to constantly see their

was more about showing persons how solar

energy usage. Becoming energy efficient is

can work in their everyday routine. Putting

the best first step in reducing energy costs

solar in people's hands and allowing them to

and our ideal way to do this is by installing

charge their phone through the sun we hoped

an energy monitor in your home.

would get them in a more environmentally friendly frame of mind. This tactic certainly by

worked as we received requests for other

installing the units’ transmitter into the main

energy tech items. Research of other

breaker panel of the home and placing the

affordable hand held solar items led the

receiver somewhere accessible where the

Solar Buzz team to the inflatable Luci Solar

information can be viewed through an app

Lantern which is still our most popular retail

on your phone or any other device. Once

item.

The

OWL

energy

monitor

works

connected, the receiver will show real time

continued...

energy consumption in either kilowatts or dollars. This way persons can always see what their energy costs are in real time and, by turning things on or off, see how much each appliance is costing them. This constant self energy audit allows you to change energy usage habits; and replace appliances that are pulling the most energy with more energy efficient versions.

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Feature The Luci Solar Lantern has so many uses and

are here for all Jamaicans to access and use

benefits that it was an instant hit in Jamaica.

to manage energy costs while doing our part

When inflated, it is an eight inch tall lantern

in creating a cleaner energy space. l

that gives off 15sf of light and is charged by a solar panel. The lantern’s makeup is the perfect solution for emergency use in Jamaica especially during blackouts. The lantern only needs six hours of sunlight to charge and will give up to twelve hours of light. Most importantly, this lantern comes at an affordable price of approximately J$3,000. The Luci Solar Lantern can replace regular battery operated lights, and kerosene lamps that are proven fire hazards. Battery operated lights are not good for our environment as the batteries eventually die and have to be thrown out. These batteries are then disposed of in our dumps to further deteriorate into our underground water table. The Luci Solar Lantern remains a strong product and is often purchased as night lights for children, fishing essentials, and decorations for homes and events. There is a wide range of solar and energy efficient products to help Jamaicans lower their energy costs, save money and become environmentally friendly advocates. Solar and energy efficient products now available on the market range from solar garden lights and smart bulbs, to inverter ACs and efficient pool/pond pumps. The technology and support through energy consultations

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Jason Robinson is the Vice President of the Jamaica Renewable Energy Association and CEO of Solar Buzz Jamaica. Visit their website at www.solarbuzzjamaica.com, or email info​@solarbuzzjamaica.com


Feature

The Chronicles of the Lazy Gardener! Much to the disdain of my mother who hails from a strong lineage of “plant-whisperers.”

By Danielle Edwards

My teenage years were littered with plant related trauma which involved sheer panic having remembered on the day of my mother’s return from her week-long trip that I was to water her beloved plants.

T

Let me set the record straight, I have nothing

his pandemic gave rise to many

against plants but dare I say that I would rather

things,

cook rice one grain at a time than tend to a

chief

among

them,

millennial plant parents.

bed of flowers.

Plants and gardens became a hot

My general knowledge of science has allowed

decor trend, earning millennials

me to recognise the importance of plants.

a reputation for gratuitous foliage. I'm sure

Including the essential oxygen and carbon

you've seen it, millennial plant moms and

dioxide exchange, they are necessary to

dads who, on a daily basis, parade their plant

balance our ecosystem and truly add beauty

‘babies’ on social media.

to any space. They are also great for air purification and have even been touted by

As

a

self-professed

brown

thumb

and

unashamedly so, I just couldn’t get onboard.

feng shui enthusiasts to balance energy and promote healing.

Any plant that I have ever owned has either been placed in the care of someone else or

continued...

has died.

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Feature I get it…I really do, but I was never really able to engender any connection to flora or fauna and for any woman or man that feels this way, just know that you are not alone. This was solidified by my cactus …we called her Cacti. I had bought her to add a little life to my workspace (as per the encouragement of my

Bent and broken Cacti

mother). matter of days she straightened, in one week she On our first day together, while driving to work,

sprouted new leaves and in a month she became

the plant fell off the passenger seat resulting

too big and had to be repotted. I realised once

in two broken leaves. More annoyed about the

again that I neither had the skills nor the desire to

mess than the damaged plant, I hurriedly cleaned

care for plant so I gave her away.

up the dirt and decorative stones while rushing to the office.

Cacti thriving in her new home

Casually showing a colleague the damaged plant, he was both saddened and shocked. A millennial plant parent with several years of experience under his belt, he informed me that, ‘Plants are living things, they have feelings.’

My perspective on gardening changed a few ‘It’s just a plant, it will survive.’ I quipped.

months later when I visited a friend who had channeled her energies to cultivate her own

Much to my surprise, several colleagues had

garden. The garden, though not large, had the

gathered around to try to salvage the broken

right mix of plants and colours and was tastefully

pieces and save Cacti. She recovered and so did

accessorized with lights and stones. Even I had

the leaves.

to admit, it was beautiful.

As the weeks went by, Cacti didn’t seem to grow

Like me, she had no desire to garden but with

quite right. Instead of growing upwards, she was

the closure of her gym, gardening was her new

bending.

hobby. According to her, it brought her peace and helped her manage her anxiety. Gardening

‘She needs some sun’ another colleague advised. So we placed her near a window and within a

8 6 H O M E & A W AY

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was her new joy.


“Impossible” I thought.

f Garden Kneeler and Seat

But even I couldn't deny it's impact on her. She was

Gardening can be hard on your knees but it doesn’t

a whole new person. Could gardening be this life

have to be with this garden kneeler. This nifty

changing?

gardening tool functions as a kneeling pad to protect the knees and also converts to a chair for those long

After a few weeks of observing her in this new found

gardening tasks. It is lightweight and simply folds

truth, with her encouragement I decided to give this

easily when you are ready to put it away, saving you

a try.

tons of storage space!

However, with my busy schedule, how was I to

This takes watching your garden

nurture my burgeoning desire for plant parenthood

grow to a whole new level.

and meet the demands of my daily life? Retails on Amazon for US$39.99

Amazon to the rescue. If you are a fellow brown thumb, lazy gardener or new homeowner

and would like to garden but

Option B: You can also spring for just the kneeling pad which retails for US$14.99

neither have the time or know where to start, I’ve compiled a list of garden tools that will keep your garden healthy in half the time and without having to break a sweat.

f Garden Tool Set

f Poly Garden Dump Cart Wondering how to carry multiple plants, rocks or a heap of dirt without breaking a sweat or your back?

Getting the right tools for any job is important, it’s also a great way to convince family and friends that you know what you are doing even though you don’t.

Now you can carry up to 600 pounds in this sturdy cart.

So consider this 58 piece aluminum

Makmeng Garden Tools Set complete with garden hose nozzle, gloves, and handheld tools for digging, weeding,

The Poly Garden Dump Cart is just what you need.

raking,

Retails on Amazon for US$65 continued...

cultivating,

troweling and shoveling. And all tools can fit in this handy apron, cool right? Retails on Amazon for US$30.99

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Feature

f Watering Wand

f VELCRO Plant Ties

There is nothing more time

These adjustable and reusable

consuming than having to

plant ties from VELCRO keep

walk around to each plant

flowers

to drench its thirsty roots,

supported,

not to mention getting your

bundled together, so flowers

feet wet and sordid in all the

can flourish, and your garden

mud and grass. However

can grow. The strong, yet gentle, material holds

with the watering wand you don’t have to! The

up the plants without damaging the stems, plus

Green Mount Watering Wand makes watering

it’s easy for you to manipulate and tie.

and

plants and

staked, securely

all of your plants a breeze. This lightweight 24” sprayer wand with a stainless steel head puts all

Retails on Amazon for US$5.70

your plants in reach and is perfect for hanging baskets, plants, flowers, and shrubs. You can simply sit and sip your drink and water away.

f Plant Auger Drill Attachment

Retails on Amazon for US$24.99.

f Smart Sprinkler Controller

Digging and tilling the soil to plant seeds and transplant other plants is back-breaking, however the Plant Auger Drill Attachment is here to save the day. Get this, it fits onto any 3/8 inch drill,

During those periods

and drills holes in any type of soil. Save your

when your schedule

back, save your sanity.

gets super busy and you can’t seem to find a moment to take a breath, the Orbit 57950 B-hyve sprinkler controller takes care of all your watering needs, so you will never forget to water your lawn or garden ever again; where was this when I was a child? After easy installation, you can control your sprinklers via an app on your phone, tablet or computer. Programme a timer, or let the weather-based software help you build a schedule. Retails on Amazon for US$92.89. 8 8 H O M E & A W AY

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Retails on Amazon for US$27.50


f Play With an Online Garden Planning Tool

f A tree Soil Moisture Meter

If this is your first time cultivating your own garden

Take the guesswork out gardening with

and you are having difficulty visualizing what your

the Atree Soil Moisture Meter, Plant

future garden should look like, try a free online

Moisture Meter, Plant Water Meter,

garden planning tool. Sites like Mother Earth

Hygrometer

News Garden Planner, Garden Planner Online

Garden, Farm, Lawn, Indoor & Outdoor

and Plan Garden to Map are quite popular with

(quite a mouthful). This is literally a game

experienced gardeners.

changer because it can assist you with

Moisture

Sensor

for

knowing specifically where and when to plant by measuring the soil’s pH and moisture levels. Simply insert the plant moisture meter into the soil 4-6 inches (2/3 of the probe), and you'll get your reading within 10 minutes. Best part is you don’t need a battery.

f Claw Weeder

Retails on Amazon for US$11.99

Removing pesky weeds are

There you have it. Hopefully these tools will

annoying, time consuming

offer some assistance as your desire for plant

and puts a lot of pressure on

parenthood begins to take root.

your knees. Thankfully the Fiskars 4-Claw Weeder is a herbicide-free way to rid

Maybe, just maybe we weren’t brown thumbs your

property

after all, what if, like Cacti, we didn’t have the

of invasive weeds. Its 34-inch length reduces the

right tools or environment to blossom. l

need for bending, just press down, clamp and

weeds are gone. Retails on Amazon for US$25

Until next time A brown thumb, turned trying plant mom

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NHT News

NHT: CREATING KEY MOMENTS

in COVID!

T

he COVID-19 pandemic continues

home and abroad to experience the joy of

to reshape our interconnectedness,

homeownership. A house is more than four walls

from how we conduct business to

and a roof, it is an opportunity to build a legacy

how we live our lives. This year has

for yourself, your families and communities.

undoubtedly become a watershed

Therefore, we not only want to empower our

in our nation’s economic history,

mortgagors to access homeownership but to

giving rise to a new level of uncertainty as a

keep these homes. In light of the realities of

result of unprecedented shifts in the global

this pandemic, the NHT implemented several

financial landscape. Income and revenue

special relief measures to assist mortgagors

losses for households have created pockets of

experiencing financial difficulties.

vulnerability, which may adversely affect the outlook for property markets, where individuals

Between April and September, 2020 mortgagors

may experience difficulties honouring their

were able to apply for a six-month moratorium

mortgage commitments. In response to this

(break in monthly mortgage payments), where

challenge, the NHT has implemented several

all late fees between the same period were

substantive initiatives to mitigate the loss of homes while strengthening the sector’s durability and resilience.

Special Relief for Mortgagors Since 1976, the NHT has been empowering and improving the lives of Jamaicans through accessible, affordable and sustainable housing. Revised policies, financing options to build, buy and repair at reduced interest rates have endowed consumers with greater purchasing power, allowing more Jamaicans, both at 9 0 H O M E & A W AY

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suspended for accounts with arrears less than

once the account has been settled. These

90 days. Additionally, we wanted to offer

individuals will have the option to pay the full

mortgagors, with loan accounts in arrears of 90

annual payment in advance or on a quarterly

days or more as of February 29, 2020, "a fresh

basis.

start".

Under the NHT’s Fresh Start Facility,

mortgagors benefitted from a “one-off” special

Benefits for New Mortgagors

arrangement to reschedule their mortgage

Whether you choose to purchase an NHT

where the amount owed was re-calculated.

scheme unit with 100% financing or a home on

How was this done? The outstanding interest

the open market, the NHT stands ready to partner

and insurance were added to the principal and

with you on this journey. As the Trust pursues

the loan amount adjusted. Mortgagors also

23,000 housing starts by 2021 it continues to

benefited from a reduction in interest rates

revise its policies and programmes to increase

and received an extension on their mortgage

homeownership among a wider cross-section

tenure. Almost 3,000 NHT mortgagors were

of Jamaicans. For those contributors who are

able to access these initiatives, allowing them

not yet homeowners, homeownership is still

to focus on those things that matter most.

possible, even in a pandemic. Here are some of the ways we have made home ownership more

The NHT’s special assistance isn’t just limited to

accessible:

COVID-19. Under normal circumstances, where a mortgagor has expressed an inability to make

l Reduction of Interest Rates

their monthly payments as a result of job loss or

While the NHT’s interest rates have traditionally

illness the Trust will utilize its special assistance

been the lowest on the market, in April,

options to include a moratorium on the loan.

the agency took steps to further reduce the rates for new mortgagors by 1% and existing

Peril Insurance Coverage for Matured Loans

loans by 0.5%, benefitting well over 110,000 mortgagors. With interest rates now ranging

A key aspect of protecting your housing

between

investment is peril insurance coverage. Peril

regardless of their socio-economic status are

insurance

perils

able to access financing. Public sector workers

including property and third party liability

continue to enjoy a 1% reduction in their

against, fires, natural disasters, impact damage,

applicable interest rate and contributors who

burglary, civil commotion and strike. All NHT

have a disability or have a child with a disability

mortgagors have the option of continuing

benefit from a 2% interest rate reduction.

provides

protection

for

0%

and

4%,

more

Jamaicans,

peril insurance coverage with the NHT after settlement, where coverage would have ended continued...

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NHT News l Housing Benefit for Contributors

over 65 Years

So where do you start? Ensure that you are eligible to access a loan, establish how much

Contributors up to age 70 are now able to

you can afford using the NHT’s online mortgage

access housing benefits from the Trust as

calculator and have a conversation with us on

voluntary contributors, subject to conditions.

what financing option may be right for you.

Previously,

With many of our services available online

the

NHT

ceased

lending

arrangements to individuals at the age of 65.

doing business with us has never been easier.

With persons increasingly working beyond

We have all had to reframe and rethink how to

the age of 65, this improvement will allow

rebuild as individuals and as a nation. While

increased accessibility to funding for housing

we can’t predict what the future will look like,

related matters, to this category of individuals.

we are confident that come what may, our

l Home Grants

contributors remain our number one priority. Creating a pathway to homeownership is

Individuals who have been contributing to

more than satisfying the demand for shelter,

the Trust for at least seven years and earning

it is changing lives, one brick, one home, one

between minimum wage and $15,000 may

community at a time.

access a grant of up to $2.5 million to assist with their homeownership needs. Similarly,

The NHT, key to protection, key to opportunity

mortgagors with a disability or who reside

and always… the key to your home. l

with someone who has a disability may also be eligible to access a grant of up to $150,000 to retrofit their homes.

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For more information, you can contact the National Housing Trust at 1-876-929-6500-9, visit our website at www.nht.gov.jm or email us at wecare@nht.gov.jm


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Home & A Way Volume 8  

Home & A Way Volume 8  

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