Ludo Vybz to unite Beetham

Since sur­fac­ing on Face­book, the once pop­u­lar old board game Lu­do, has filled a well of nos­tal­gia for many, but it means more for 34-year-old Kester Ben­jamin of Beetham Gar­dens who sees it as a way of uni­fy­ing his com­mu­ni­ty.

If you paid a vis­it to the area re­cent­ly you would have prob­a­bly seen him bent on his knees un­der the scorch­ing sun putting the fi­nal touch­es to his life-size re-cre­ation of lu­do, and it has all been a la­bor of love for him, “most of the youth these days don’t know much about these games so I try to bring it in a way big enough, ex­cit­ing enough and catchy enough to make peo­ple to want to come out.”

Ben­jamin said with­in the cor­ri­dors of his com­mu­ni­ty are chil­dren grap­pling with the stig­ma of liv­ing in an area known for vi­o­lence and gang war­fare. But he said af­ter re­vis­it­ing the past, he found the an­swers to break the shack­les of neg­a­tiv­i­ty. He him­self has learned to smile through the pain, “since af­ter I lost my son 5 years ago, I’ve been more open to life and I know what it’s like to lose a part of me, I had shut down for like 2 years and every day he came across my mind, there were days I cried, but he still in­spires me and I know he is look­ing down on me, when I think about him I see kids, I feel love and I feel lift­ed.”

De­spite his own set­backs in­clud­ing un­em­ploy­ment, Ben­jamin has re­mained res­olute on bring­ing has com­mu­ni­ty to­geth­er, “It’s been re­al dif­fi­cult, some­times it have days I does have to go and de­liv­er let­ter for spon­sor­ship to com­pa­nies and I don’t even have mon­ey to trav­el, I does have to bor­row but I does try to make it hap­pen for the love for the kids and the rea­son and pur­pose I do­ing it, and I’m not ask­ing for any­thing back, just spon­sor­ship of things like books, uni­forms and stuff”.

Ben­jamin said Lu­do and oth­er pop­u­lar board games from yes­ter­year pro­vide the ide­al av­enue for youth in the com­mu­ni­ty to put down their elec­tron­ic de­vices and re­con­nect with one an­oth­er, some­thing he stressed had been lack­ing not just in Beetham Gar­dens but through­out the coun­try, “It have peo­ple who live in the vil­lage like four streets away and a year or two years pass and they haven’t seen each oth­er, so these games will pro­vide the phys­i­cal in­ter­ac­tion which has been ab­sent for some time”.

He al­so has his sights set on rolling out his life-sized recre­ations through­out the coun­try in hopes of achiev­ing sim­i­lar re­sults, “I need full sup­port with this, I need to take this around the coun­try, and if I get mats print­ed I can go in­to chil­dren’s homes and fun days, I will­ing to do it any­where, even in the sky I want to put Lu­do vibes”.

- by Jesse Ramdeo. Photo by Nicole Drayton.

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