Yohan moves woman from fowl coop living


May 04, 2016
Contribuited Sophia Afflick (centre) stands in front of a house provided by Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake and Food For The Poor in August 2015. She is aaccompanied by one of her daughters (right) and two neighbours.
Contribuited Sophia Afflick, standing at the door of the chicken coop in which she once lived.
Yohan Blake

Sophia Afflick once lived in a chicken coop in St Thomas with her children. She had moved from her house in Commodore, Portland after she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism in 2010.

"I fell in a serious case of depression. I wanted to lay down everyday and I felt like committing suicide and I never wanted to be around my children. I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism at Princess Margaret Hospital in St Thomas, and my sister was living in that parish, so I decided that it was best to move there for treatment," Afflick said.

Having journeyed to St Thomas to stay in a two-bedroom house with one of her sisters, Afflick said she became very uncomfortable.

"Sometimes, I sleep on di sofa so that mi two daughters could share a bed with my sister's children. It was really stressing for us. We needed our own space," she further stated.

After a while, Afflick said she and her sister started experiencing conflicts, so she left.

"There was an abandoned fowl coop in the yard and things became so desperate that I decided to fix it up as best as I could and live in it. We neva have no furniture. All I had was two baskets with clothes fi me and di children with one small table and a second-hand mattress. That's all we had, but we felt safe and we had more peace of mind," Afflick said.

But the nightmare and horror of being near-homeless ended when Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake teamed up with charitable organisation Food For The Poor (FFP) and provided her with a new two-bedroom house in August 2015.

"Where I was, I didn't know that things would turn around for me. Maybe I would have died, but I am a survivor today because of Yohan Blake and Food For The Poor," she said.

Prior to Blake and FFP's intervention, Afflick was near destitute and prayed for a Samaritan to rescue her.

"When mi get the keys in my hand, it was like mi just wake up out of a nightmare. Mi couldn't stop crying. Then mi 16-year-old daughter come back home to live wid us. I was so happy. In fact, mi even start feel much better with my health. It's almost like mi forget that I had the health problems."

Blake and FFP have teamed up once more with the sprinter pledging to again donate towards the building of a house for a needy Jamaican. Blake will donate US$3,200 (J$393,000) towards the buiding of a two-bedroom house, and FFP will be putting up a similar amount.

"I want to help people to live better and we'll have more fulfilling lives in our society. Having a house to call your home provides a sense of pride and dignity," Blake said recently. "I promise that as long as I am able to help another person, I will. God has been good to me, and He has blessed me beyond measure."

FFP Jamaica will be using the funds from its 5K Run/Walk this Saturday in Kingston, to provide housing for needy families.

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