'I just want a spot to put my house' - Poverty stricken mom wants fresh start

June 02, 2016
Shanna Monteith Photo Nelta Saunders wants to take up her house and move it to a peaceful place.
Shanna Monteith Photo Nelta Saunders wants to take up her house and move it to a peaceful place.
Shanna Monteith Photo Nelta Saunders wants to take up her house and move it to a peaceful place.
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Nelta Saunders of Trinityville, St Thomas, has been featured in THE STAR twice. In 2008, the mother of three was lamenting the deplorable conditions of her one-bedroom house. Then, in 2009 she was begging the government to allow her to keep her baby who had fallen sick and was hospitalised due to malnutrition.

Now, seven years after being provided with a house by charitable organisation Food For the Poor and left to care for her child, Saunders is once again drowning in adversity.

Saunders claims that she has been undergoing pressure from close relatives who own the land on which she lives, as they want her to evacuate the property.

 

PAY LEASE

 

"They want me to pay lease and I can't afford it. Mi have mi three children. One going primary, one going high school, and one leave out of school, plus myself, and mi nuh suh hearty," she explained.

Saunders said that had it not been of the social welfare Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), she would not be able to send her children to school.

Saunders claims that the land-owners had initially agreed for her to have the house erected on the property there, but started complaining three months after it was built.

"I can't stay there in peace. I started to walk around explaining my situation to people trying to get help, but nobody not helping me. Sometimes all Ochi [Ocho Rios, St Ann] I reach sleeping in the market or on the roadside for days just so I can get away from them. Just to breeze out," she said.

Fighting back tears, the 36-year-old said thoughts of suicide invade her mind almost daily.

"Sometimes I just want to kill myself and just give up the house," she said.

"If somebody did tell me when I was 15 that this is how my life would turn out I would have killed myself from dem time there, but right now I can't do it because of mi pickney them. Nobody is going to look after them and them going to suffer, and I can't mek them suffer," said Saunders while crying.

Saunders said she is now staying with a Good Samaritan who welcomed hers and her children to stay until she is able to find somewhere else.

"I have the two youngest with me (14 and nine), but the oldest one (20 years old) left, saying that he is going to see if he can hustle to try and help me to get the house off this land so we can live comfortably. Because I am uneducated nobody not hiring me. I'm even willing to look after babies or old people, anything at all that can put food on the table," Saunders said.

"More time the children cry when they see me crying and ask me if I am all right I just have to tell them yes," she said. Another episode of tears followed.

Saunders is desperately seeking help to find a plot of land and help with material to build the foundation for the house so she can make a fresh start.

"I will pull down the house and move it wherever I get the house spot so mi and mi children can live happy and all right," she said.

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