Former football star of 1970’s Belize City champions Berger 404 and Chito’s Rangers, Harrison “Ile Man” Flowers visited our sports desk this morning to send a message of hope to brothers in the street who are struggling with addiction to crack cocaine and want to get their lives back on track.
Ile Man says he is doing well and feeling good since attending the Remar rehab center in Bullet Tree Village in the Cayo District. He is presently on a two-week break, to be with his mother who recently had an operation.
We remarked that he looked sturdy and strong, and Ile Man said his life has definitely turned around since spending the past three months at Remar in Bullet Tree. He said there are presently at least thirty others at the Remar center.
“I know I’m cured,” said Ile Man. “It’s very good for the guys that are out in the streets. “
We talked to Ile Man about some other brothers who have been battling crack addiction, and feel like there is no hope of breaking the habit.
Amandala (A): “Some brothers say, ‘A di try, man; a di try; but a just kyan mek no head way.’ What would you say to them?”
Ile Man: “Dehn could come up da Remar, and dehn WILL mek a head way, man.”
(A): They (Remar) will accept them if they go up there?
Ile Man: Yes, anybody. It could be an alcoholic, right?
(A): And where is Bullet Tree? How do they get to Remar?
Ile Man: They could just go up (the George Price/Western Highway), past Cayo, on the road to Benque, then take the cut-off to Bullet Tree about twenty miles in.
(A): And you tink dehn bredda could get some help?
Ile Man: Hey, I know that; right? It’s a very good program; because I go to service in the morning at six, and service in the evening at six.
(A): What message would you like to leave for the youth in the streets who you think might fall into the same trap?
Ile Man: The message I wahn lef wid dehn is, I wahn tell dehn that drugs no good fi use, because I di use it from 1981, and i condemn me as wahn good football player…
(A): And you see where this program helped you to get back?
Ile Man: Yes, man. It’s a very great help, right.
(A): Alright, so yo tink yo could stand strong now? If dehn bwai bring sonting to u now and say, ‘Bwai, hold ya; try wahn lee ting!’
Ile Man: Hey, I am strong. I’ll take it to the Lord in prayer. I AM strong!
(A): Bless up; stay strong, Stone Ile; and all the best till we meet again, brother.
Ile Man: Yea, man; one love, right?
(Ed. Note: We encountered many footballers, teammates and opponents, who were regular users of marijuana during our playing days in the 1970’s and ‘80’s; and it was never a problem for any of them. But when crack cocaine came on the scene, there were many lives turned upside down. Ile Man was one such victim.)