Four months after a pregnant mother and her eight children narrowly escaped when their home was riddled with bullets and set on fire, she is begging for help to rebuild their home.
Unemployed and living under volatile conditions at a house in Gran Couva, Inderia Garcia, 35, who is due to give birth to her ninth child next month said all their belongings were lost in the fire.
Garcia recalled that around one or 2 o’clock in the morning on Carnival Friday her children were asleep when bullets pierced the wooden walls of her home at Deonarine Junction, Calcutta #3, Mc Bean Village, Couva.
The father of her last three children and her unborn baby was also home. The house was then set on fire while they were inside, but they managed to escaped unhurt.
But they lost all their belongings. She estimated her losses to be over $250,000. Her eldest child, age 18, has since gone to stay by a relative.
The other children ages 15, 13, 11, 10, five, three and one, barely have any clothes, much less for footwear.
She has no baby supplies or clothes for her unborn child or herself. If she goes into early labour, Garcia said, “God alone knows. I don’t even have a vest or a pamper.”
She said her first five children were staying with a relative, but months before the fire she took them back. With just a few weeks to go before school closes, Garcia said unless she gets some kind of assistance the children will be unable to attend school in September.
Prior to the incident, Garcia said she was being threatened and harassed by people who were trying to take her land. She said she has documents proving ownership of the property gifted to her by her grandfather.
With nowhere else to go after the fire, she and her children went to stay by her companion’s relatives.
However, she said their relationship has become strained and she does not know the whereabouts of the other children’s father.
“We are not comfortable here. We sleep in the drawing room on a mattress on the floor. Them children they hardly have anything. They don’t even have slippers for their foot. We lost everything in the house. That house not even a year old, we recently build that house, we recently wire that house, everything new in that house and it just gone up in smoke,” she lamented.
However, Garcia said her main objective is to build back their home.
She said,“My most concern is getting back a roof over my head so I don’t have to be at people and going through no abuse. The land I occupy is my land. I need material to build back a house.”
Born with a hole in her heart, Garcia says she sometimes has difficulty breathing. “If anybody could come forward and help me and kids get back a house, if I get material, I have somebody to build it, is just the material.”
She said social services gave her a food card valued at $700, to only use once. She also applied for a grant from the Self Help Commission.
Garcia says she has been getting by through the grace of God.
She said, “If it did not have a God I don’t know what will happen to me. I would like those in authority to hear my plight and render some assistance, not for me just for the sake of me, but for the sake of the children because I don’t want my children to go in foster care and get abuse,” she pleaded.
Garcia said her family cannot accommodate them.
- by Sascha Wilson. Photo by Rishi Ragoonath