The Star (Jamaica)
Heavy rain leaves family homeless again
Thirty- four- year old Leisha Burchell of Friendship, Trelawny, a mother of four, is in need of a place to live.
On May 23, the home she lived in with her children, ages 16, 12, 10 and three, was gutted by fire of unknown origin.
“Mi did gone a work and mi children dem neva deh ya. Neighbours called to tell mi bout di fire. Wen mi go deh every ting bun dung flat,” she recounted. Determined not to get disheartened, she was given a piece of land where she built a shed to house the family. But tragedy again struck on Tuesday with heavy rains and wind caused by Tropical Storm Grace.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) when de rain start fall every ting wet up. So mi guh dung a mi baby fada an’ one tree drap dung pon it. Lawd
God mi salt,” she moaned. Since the fire she has sought help to construct a solid building.
Help has come from Muschett High School where her eldest child attends. The Optimist Club of Falmouth, through its president, Natanish Hines, is also lending a hand. Burchell has gone to Food For The Poor for help.
“Dem willing fi help but mi nuh have no document fi di land so dem caan help,” she moaned. She is appealing to anyone, including the member of parliament for North Trelawny, Tova Hamilton, from whom she can get help. Already she has been able to get some help to start construction but needs more.
“Mi a beg help so mi an de pickney dem caan sleep a night,” she appealed.
Shanice Woolery, a 21-yearold mother of two, said she is living in deplorable conditions and finding it extremely challenging to take care of her children.
She said she is seeking the public’s assistance in repairing her one-bedroom board house
“The house that I am living in is rotting and it is infested with rats, roaches and insects. Mi did live with mi parents in di same one room, but it get so bad that dem have to move out, and mi go live with mi babyfather. It never work out, suh mi have to move back to di house, but it nuh safe,” she said.
Woolery’s children are ages three years and two months. She said she has not been receiving much assistance from either of their fathers.
“If rain fall di place flood out and di cockroach dem come out. Mi really concern about the children, because mi would want send mi daughter go school, but mi can’t afford it suh mi nuh bother register her. Right now the baby Pampers finish and I don’t know how I am going to buy it. Sometimes I feel like killing myself,” she said.
The young mother said she used to earn an income by selling craft items to tourists but had to stop as she did not have a babysitter for her three-year-old.
“Whenever I have to wash their clothes, I have to go very very far to the river because mi nuh have pipe water. Mi don’t even know where I am going to get food for them because I am not working now. I used to work before, but I didn’t have anyone to stay with them while I was working so I had to stop,” she said.
Woolery said she did not complete high school and would like to return to the classroom but currently, that dream seems far-fetched.
“I would want to learn a skill, but I have to focus on the children right now. It really hard, and mi would just wah some help with the children because it really hard,” she said.