‘Things wasn’t always bad’ - Elderly woman appeals for help

September 16, 2020
A bath pan and a bucket positioned in the house to catch rainwater from the leaking roof.
A bath pan and a bucket positioned in the house to catch rainwater from the leaking roof.
A view of the kitchen area.
A view of the kitchen area.
Martha Spence at her gate on Eighth Street in Jones Town, St Andrew.
Martha Spence at her gate on Eighth Street in Jones Town, St Andrew.
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Martha Spence, 85, is living in less than desirable conditions. In February, fire destroyed her bathroom and another section of her home. She lost all of her clothing and other personal items.

Standing at her gate on Eighth Street in Jones Town, St Andrew, the frail-looking woman said she has fallen on hard times and is unable to rebuild the bathroom. She is forced to bathe outside in the yard, behind a sheet of zinc.

"A di second time mi house a catch a fire. The first time it burn to the ground. This time a mi likkle grandson a play with fire and it catch a sponge and the bathroom burn down on Valentine's Day. Mi lose every piece a clothes whe mi did have. Mi barely have anything to put on now... . Even mi test glasses burn up and mi can't see properly. If I was strong enough to work like one time, mi and mi grandchildren dem woulda all right," she said.

The branches of a huge mango tree lean on the zinc roof of Spence's house, which she shares with three grandchildren, two of whom are young adults. With the hurricane season being an active one so far, the elderly woman is fearful that her house may not be able to withstand heavy winds should a storm come Jamaica's way.

"Right now mi a fret because when di rain fall is inside it fall. The place wet up bad bad. It pour in di house. Mi wouldn't mind if somebody could fix the housetop for mi. Mi grandson nuh lazy, and him take care a mi, but him nah work right now and because a dat, him a fret hard on it. Mi tell him not to worry because the Lord will provide, but it make him miserable because him out of a job," she said.

DILAPIDATED

Some of her windows have been covered by pieces of zinc. Inside the dwelling is another story. The living room is cluttered with clothing and partially broken furniture. One of the bedrooms has an uncovered mattress, a bath pan and a bucket used to collect the rainwater. A staircase that leads to the upper section of the house is an accident waiting to happen, as the steps shake with each footstep.

Spence said she has six children but some of them are not in a position to assist her.

"When the COVID virus did just come a Jamaica, some government people did come and give me food and other things because mi never suppose to go a road, but them never come back. Things wasn't always bad for me but after my husband died years ago, I get hypertension and a whole heap a other complaint," she said.

"Mi waah all go church but mi nuh have enough clothes. People in the community help mi when dem can and mi grandson really waah play him part, but him can't get any work now because him lose all a him documents too."

Persons wishing to assist Martha Spence may contact her son Dalton at 876-362-6236.

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