Oma Gookool spent half of her life living without electricity.
But now that her daughter is in Form Five and has to rely on online classes, Gookool is praying fervently that their home could be outfitted with an electrical supply.
Gookool, 35, common-law husband Chris Ramkissoon, 36, their teenaged daughter and grandmother Sumattie Gookool, 54, live in a plyboard house constructed near a gas pipeline off Priam Street, Diamond Village.
They have no road leading to their home.
Every day the teenaged student walks up the grassy track to a neighbour’s house so that she could join online classes.
The sprawling University of the West Indies Penal/Debe campus peeps out in the distance and the young girl hopes that someday her grades will be good enough to earn her a place at the university.
But with no electricity, studying is a chore.
Gookool said she worked at a bar before the COVID-19 lockdown and saved enough to buy a tablet for her daughter.
But with no electricity and internet, the young student has to rely on her friends and neighbours to get her education.
With CXC examinations approaching next year, Gookool said she was hoping that they could get an electrical supply so her daughter could study at home.
“It pains my heart to see her struggling. She is an average student but she wants to do better for herself. I know that studying without electricity and not having a proper toilet or bathroom is difficult for her and now that she has online classes, it is even harder,” Gookool said.
Even cooking a meal was difficult.
“In the morning when I get up to cook, I light a kerosene lamp and I use the light from my phone to see inside the pot,” she said.
Gookool said apart from her daughter’s needs, her mother suffers from renal failure and has to do dialysis three times per week.
“Last week she fell on her way to the toilet and graze up her knees,” Gookool said. Her husband has started digging a cesspit and friends and family are trying to level the front of the house to construct a toilet and bathroom.
But Gookool said they had run out of material.
She said in 2017 she applied to T&TEC to get an electricity pole leading to their home. Because of where it was constructed, they had to break down their home and rebuild it 25 feet away from the gas lines. But after that was done, Gookool said T&TEC advised her by letter that she needed to pay $53,000 to get a pole.
“There was no way we could raise that kind of money. That was why we could not get the pole,” she said.
Gookool said she was hoping that someone could assist them.
“I am tired of using the outhouse. In the rain, we have to come out in the mud to get to the toilet. I want a comfortable place for my mother when she comes out of hospital. I also want my daughter to have a place at home to do her classes so I can show her her school work,” Gookool said.
Anyone wishing to assist the family can contact Gookool at 389-2409 or 756-1663.