Mother of 8 wants help to rebuild home after arson attack

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

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