Romeo Fran­cis pleads for help for his two chil­dren

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Shanique Sa­muels Gleaner Writer fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­erjm.com

ROMEO FRAN­CIS and his two chil­dren were left home­less af­ter his fourbed­room dwelling was de­stroyed by fire last month. He watched help­lessly as his nearly two decades of hard work and earn­ings went up in flames.

“It’s like some­body try to break into the house through one of the back win­dow, but when they couldn’t get in, they throw fire into the room on the bed, then the whole house catch a fire, and by the fire truck come, the whole house burn down,” he shared, adding that no one was at home when the in­ci­dent hap­pened.

Fran­cis, along with his spouse, two chil­dren, and a cousin oc­cu­pied the premises in Co­coa Walk in Chapel­ton, Claren­don.

FU­TILE AT­TEMPT

“Mi come see the house on fire and mi kick off the door and dash three bucket a wa­ter and the fire blaze up an mi affi ease out,” he said, adding that if there was a fire truck in Chapel­ton, he could have saved some­thing, but lamented that be­cause he had to wait on a unit from May Pen to re­spond, he lost ev­ery­thing.

“Mi lose ev­ery­thing. All the stuff mi buy fi mi youth dem back-to-school shell dung. All mi have left a just the clothes on mi back. The juice and Igloo mi use fi mi hus­tling burn up and all mi money burn up inna di house,” he said with a blank look on his face.

“Mi daugh­ter get a suit of uni­form from the guid­ance coun­sel­lor at her school and mi hus­tle and buy back a suit a khaki fi mi son. Mi a look a likkle help fi start up back mi thing and try rise up be­cause me have mi youth dem fi take care of. Any­thing mi make mi just share it fi me and them and we just gwaan sat­isfy. Mi go sev­eral places a look help and mi no get no help cause it rough ya now pan mi fi school di two youth dem and the hus­tling slow,” he told Fam­ily & Re­li­gion.

Fran­cis said he has been sell­ing juice since 1990 and has man­aged to sur­vive un­til now, but bounc­ing back af­ter a fire is prov­ing to be quite chal­leng­ing, es­pe­cially since he has two chil­dren. He said he has been car­ing for his daugh­ter, Michelle-Lee, since she was eight months old when her mother left her with him. She is now nine years old, and her brother, Romeo, is seven.

He says that although the hus­tling is slow at times, he gets up every morn­ing and goes out be­cause he has re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and doesn’t want to be la­belled among the statis­tics of delin­quent fa­thers in Ja­maica. He says hus­tling has put bread on his ta­ble and clothed his chil­dren and paid his bills, but he’s at his break­ing point right now.

“It af­fect me bad, man. A eye top me deh pan a gwaan kotch round, so if me can get a likkle house and some help fi try back some juice, me would be grate­ful cause me is a hustler, mi no idler, but right now it bit­ter pan mi. All mi a try, it just naa work out.”

Fran­cis said his son has been vis­i­bly af­fected by the loss as he lost all his toys and it breaks his heart as a par­ent not to be able to pro­vide any im­me­di­ate com­fort for his chil­dren.

Fran­cis can be con­tacted at 315-1462 if you are will­ing to of­fer as­sis­tance.

“If me can get a likkle house and some help fi try back some juice me would be grate­ful cause me is a hustler, mi no idler, but right now it bit­ter pan mi, all mi a try it just naa work out.”

Romeo Fran­cis says that although the hus­tling is slow at times, he gets up every morn­ing and goes out be­cause he has re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and doesn’t want to be la­beled among the statis­tics of delin­quent fa­thers in Ja­maica. Here he is with his chil­dren, daugh­ter, Michelle-Lee and son, Romeo.

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