There are many paths laid out in life and we all choose the one we think will lead us to that happy place. Leonard Francois Felicien may not have chosen every path he has walked on but he has painted them all with his unique brush.
Known simply as Ten-to-One, the 88-year- old man lives in a boathouse along the seashore of the Vieux Fort Dock, near L’anse Basson. Born in French Guiana to St Lucian parents, the family returned to the island when he was 6 years old. They lived in Gros Islet where young Felicien grew up and went to school. It was then on to a life on the sea as a fisherman, working from the east coast and down to the west coast.
It was not long before he made friends in Vieux Fort and chose to move permanently in 1974. But how did he come to be living in a small house near the seashore all alone, with no electricity or running water and not a neighbor in sight?
The former fisherman and coal maker keeps up with current affairs on the island through his transistor radio, Charlie and Juke Bois keep him informed. At nights he sits on rocks enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. And while his location may seem idyllic, storm waters can very easily wash away his home, so when bad weather threatens Ten-to-One heads to the Moule-a-Chique hill.
Well past his prime Ten-to-One does what he can to survive. He has a small vegetable garden growing potatoes and cassava and receives food donations from friends. He now makes coals only for his private use and preparation of his meals.
Ten-to-One could not say if he had any children and he has since lost touch with his family in St Lucia.
GVD news wondered if he would change his life if he could and if there was anything he would do differently.
Ten-to-One’s desire to keep away from trouble does not mean has not come to him. He faces constant theft of his property and most importantly his boat, which was his main means of transportation into town.
While he says if he gets another boat it will most likely be stolen again, having one would certainly make his life a little more comfortable.
GVD news salutes Mr Felicien as he walks his own path and his determined spirit to survive AGAINST THE ODDS.