Patricia Bethelny has a dream that her two sons will grow up to be the next world leaders.
But lately, that dream has been overshadowed by her daily fight to survive, having no place to call home.
The 26-year-old mother has been struggling to make ends meet since becoming unemployed due to the pandemic.
However, her worst fear came when she was evicted last week from her Diego Martin home after she could no longer pay her rent.
“I will go by a mom, I will go by a friend, I would stay by a sister, an aunt and I’ll be…I’ll try to rotate different places, just not to overwhelm anybody.”
It’s the stark reality of the self-taught chef who sighed exhaustedly, “Never in this life, I would have thought, me…I would have been going through these things.
Bethelny lost her job at the start of the pandemic last year, when the NGO for which she worked, could no longer afford to keep her. She was then able to secure a job at a retail establishment in Tunapuna, but that required her to leave her two sons– ages five and eight in the care of someone who she later find out was involved in illicit activity.
“It was someone I trusted and knew for 12 years and I never knew it until then what that person was involved in,” she explained.
Bethelny said she could not in good conscience continue to leave her children in that situation once she became aware of the caretaker’s “secret.”
As such, to ensure her children’s safety, she left the job after only working for three months.
It’s been difficult ever since to find work, with so many sectors closed and few hiring at this time, she told Guardian Media.
The divorcee tried to help herself by making pies and punches to sell, but the money would usually not be enough to sustain her and her family. Even that hustle ended abruptly when her landlord told her it was time to go.
“She was pleading with me…you have to pay…you have to pay. And I couldn’t and I keep making excuses, saying you know just bear with me, please understand. I try to talk to her from a mother’s perspective being a mother herself. I said well, just bear with me a bit, I’m trying my best, just give me a little time and that time just passed and I wasn’t able at all,” Bethelny lamented.
The situation has taken a severe mental and emotional toll on the family.
“I don’t even know how to say like…like I can’t even cry or I don’t know how to feel. Is just a lot,” she bemoaned.
It was only on Monday that Minister of Social Development and Family Services Donna Cox confirmed evictions were on the rise in T&T, and single mothers and their children were among those being forced to turn to the streets.
Bethelny who described her childhood as difficult, with a mother who told her she was a mistake, said she does not want her children to keep worrying or wondering where they will sleep or get food to eat and this is why she decided to publicly share her story
“I don’t really have friends or anyone that I tell what’s happening to me. I normally go through my things by myself…fend for myself since their dad left and everything,” she said.
Bethelny said she is not asking for handouts but just an opportunity to get back on her feet so she could take care of her children.
“I don’t sit down and wait for assistance, it’s not pride…it’s just, I want to do this. I picked up that responsibility you know. I think it is my responsibility to deal with my kids. I want to see them grow up. I want them to have an education, a future…a good home. I want to prove that to my family and myself also,” she said
Anyone wishing to help Patricia Bethelny and her family can call 782-7917 and 370-0222