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close this book Daughters of Sysiphus
close this folder Density
View the document Household size
View the document Number of people per room
View the document The yard
View the document The experience behind the figures
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The experience behind the figures


Her household is made up of four of her daughters. a "son-in-law". four grandchildren, a niece and a nephew. Auntie now has one room which she shares with her 18 year-old daughter and her niece. Auntie shares a bed with the niece. Her nephew lives in another two-room unit, using one room as a bedroom and the other to store his kerosene. Another daughter lives in a third unit and shares it with her babyfather. Another daughter has a further "unit" which she shares with her sister and four children.


Five members of the household sleep in two rooms. For her it is land space that is more important than room space because of the investment she makes in planting things around the house. However she finds the house small and would add another room if she got a windfall of $5000.


Nine members of the household sleep in four rooms.


The capacity of Lena's household to absorb people has been described in the case study included as annex III. At one time there were five of them sleeping on two beds in a single room.


The half of the house that Letty occupies is composed of a bedroom, a living room and a small bathroom with a shower and toilet. The kitchen is outside. Her grandson sleeps in the living room but keeps his clothes in Letty's room.

Letty keeps a large bed in her room but never sleeps on it. preferring a small cot along one side of the room. The yard is large and well fruited and boasts ackee, lime, banana, plantain, cherries, yam, soursop, avocado, and coco.


"The yard space is very small. The house is like a flat. You have downstairs, somebody occupy it. Upstairs you have four rooms with different people and the bathroom where you have to share. The kitchen you have to share it but the lady try to keep it up. She get someone to come in and clean to see that everything is all right. The yard space is very small - you just have to say it is somewhere for you to walk out and walk in. A person cannot park in there. There's just a few little lines for washing. If I want to wash today and someone else is washing I can't do it because there's no room."


Lives in a one-room board house with her four daughters and her sister. Her children are 13,12, 8 and 8 months old.

If she got $5000 she would expand her house so that her daughters could get a room of their own. They currently sleep on the floor.


Pam, who is 32 years-old, lives with her mother who is 59, a sister of 21, a niece of the same age, a nephew of two and her two teenage sons. The seven of them live in Tavern in two rooms. She shares her room with the boys and the nephew while her mother shares with her sister and niece.

"I need to move now because the boys are getting big and we're all in one room and we need more privacy.


Pansy's household is a large one. If all the children are included 15 people live in the house. Three of Pansy's daughters, three of her sons, seven grandchildren and the daughter of a friend from the country share the accommodation.

She's very proud of her house which she built "bit by bit." Her only complaint is that the plot is not large enough to allow for further expansion and she has nowhere to do a little cultivation.

Every month she puts a little money aside to expand or improve her house. At the moment she is putting on an extra room and a bathroom for her mother.

She now has six bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom having expanded from just three bedrooms five years ago.


Pearl lives with her three daughters in a single room. They don't like it and neither does she. When they go to stay with their father they live well and when they come back to her they are embarrassed and disgruntled with the conditions.


Verona is 55. She lives with her daughter (22) her son (30) and three grandchildren (7, 3 and 6 weeks) on squatted land in Delacree Pen.

The house she is living in now has three bedrooms, with a living room and a verandah. There is also a small shop attached to the front of the house. The shop has a separate gate through the zinc fence which hides the house as a whole from the main road. The household uses a pit latrine and showers in an open bathing area at the back of the yard. There is an outdoor kitchen and a number of guinep trees in the yard which provide fruit in season. There are also three goats.