RADHICA DE SILVA
A family living on the edge of a recreation ground in Woodland is begging for help as they struggle to survive.
Roopnarine Roopchand, 59, says he longs for a proper home for his family and although he has spent his life working hard, he has never been able to achieve this.
The family’s home built of wood and galvanize is situated behind the Evergreen Recreation Ground in Pluck Road, Woodland. The roof is partially built with tree branches and rotted galvanize sheets are used as partitions.
Roopchand and his wife Roslyn live upstairs and their children Anand, 39, and Sunil, 36, live with their families downstairs in adjoining annexes. Roochand says the house is ready to collapse.
Roopchand explained that in 2010 while on a job site in San Fernando, a piece of steel became dislodged and hit him in the head, injuring his eye. Later on, he suffered three heart attacks and had to be hospitalised for 21 days.
Since his hospitalisation, Roopchand said his refurbishment works on the house ground to a standstill.
Roopchand said, “It does be hard for me. I does worry about them children. They have no proper place to play or to sleep when the night comes.”
Sunil’s wife Veeda Ramoutar and her three children aged, 10, five and ten months, sleep in a leaking one bedroom annexe. There is barely any room for furniture so all the family’s clothes are piled into clothes baskets. The room is dark and the roof leaks.
Anand’s wife Vidya Bachan said she tries her best to send her two children aged nine and seven to school. They attend Woodland Hindu School while Ramoutar’s children attend San Francique Hindu School.
She said whenever it rains, life becomes unbearable.
“The floor is dirt so we get mud everywhere. The children have no place to play and when the rain falls, the ground gets flooded so all the dirty water comes right into the house,” Bachan said.
Councillor for Avocat Doodnath Mayrhoo said the family desperately needed help.
He added, “ I also want Heritage Petroleum who is doing work on an oil spill closeby to come here as well and help. The conditions are inhumane. Children should not be playing on this dirt floor. I am hoping that people will assist in rebuilding this structure so they can have some comfort,” Mayrhoo said.
Anyone willing to assist the family can contact them at 309-4890/ 334- 0855 or 768- 8961.