Struggling with the Difficulties of Life – 1984 visit to Monkey Hill, St. Kitt’s

By Chris Cholas

During my 1984 visit to St. Kitt’s, the Bahá’ís in Basseterre suggested I visit a Mr. Brown (perhaps Victor Brown?) who lived in the village of Monkey Hill, a short bus ride north of the airport.

Mr. Brown had a small cobbler shop on a hillside. As I walked up the hill to his place, I could hear him hammering on the heel of a shoe he was repairing.

“Mr. Brown?” I queried as I came close to the doorway and saw him pounding on a shoe. “Alláh’u’Abhá! I’m a Bahá’í visiting from Puerto Rico. My name is Chris.”

Continuing to work on what seemed to be a problem-some shoe, he greeted me with, “I’m struggling with the difficulties of life.” He put his hammer down and reiterated that life is full of difficulties. I agreed. I shared with him that I once worked in a shoe shop in my home town in the United States and could relate to troublesome shoes.

I understood from him that he originally came from the nearby island of Nevis and had moved to Monkey Hill as a homefront pioneer for the Faith. He said that teaching the Faith went very slow in the village, but he was committed to be there to serve as best that he could. His shoe shop brought him only a meager income, but he seemed content.

It was a brief visit, but the memory of Mr. Brown diligently working on that shoe as he devotedly served the Faith sticks memorably in my mind.