Last update: 09-Dec-2013 1:43 am
Monday, December 09, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Good Samaritans send Alisha back to school
Devastating Friday night floods in Diego Martin have destroyed all of 12-year-old Alisha Francois’ school books and her school uniform, but the generousity of citizens will allow her to go to school today, in spite of the loss of all her family’s belongings.
Sitting next to her father Oba Francois in a room in the Diego Martin Community Centre yesterday, where the family has been living since Friday, Alisha said she was happy to return to Diamond Vale Government School today, after concerned residents donated a replacement uniform, sneakers, bookbag and textbooks. “People treat we real nice...We appreciate what they do for we,” Oba said.
The seven-member family escaped life-threatening flood waters early Friday morning, which destroyed all their furniture, clothes and appliances at their Covigne Road home where they lived for eight years. “From the time I put my foot on the ground, is water,” Oba said.
As they sat in the centre eating rice and chicken on plastic plates, Oba, 34, told the T&T Guardian new clothes was not the end of the good news for the Francois family. He explained that an argument with his wife, Keisha Hinds early Friday morning saved their four-month-old baby Nyla’s life, as minutes after they went to bed they realised water had risen rapidly and was getting into her crib.
“The baby nearly drown...the water reached so high it could have covered the crib,” he said, while playing happily with his youngest daughter on the blue cot provided by the centre. Another cause for celebration at the centre was for Britney Francois, who turn five yesterday. Even though there was no cake, balloons, or gifts, she said she enjoyed her day with her family.
But she does not have to worry about spending any more time there, as the family will be moved to a furnished Housing Development Corporation (HDC) house in Oropune today. She said: “I feel so nice. The Government really work good and fast. The response is the best I ever get. Long time I going through this with flooding.” The house will be provided rent-free for the first two months, after which the family would have to pay about $800 a month.
When asked how he felt about the arrangement, Oba said he “couldn’t do better than that” for his family at this time. Oba is employed as a welder, and said he never expected to get an HDC house, as the family thought the only option was to clean up their uninhabitable home on Covigne Road. “We was just trying to get a shelter and if we could get help to clean back our home or something.”
Hinds and Oba plan to let Alisha live with her grandmother in Diego Martin during weekdays, so she could continue school at Diamond Vale, but their other three daughters Britney, Kimberly, three, and Tenisha, two, will have to be transferred to another school, closer to their new Oropune home. “That’s the most I could do right now.” The room the family stayed the past three nights had large garbage bags, filled with donated clothes and toys. Oba said he was moved by everyone’s kindness.
“I happy that people help us, you know? It really have people in the world that generous and nice.”
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