Miss Estena wants a home for Christmas
"Me just want a sensible likkle sup'm so when me lay down in a it, me can feel like me living 'cause right now me feel like a dead smaddy," said 72-year-old Estena Bailey-Smart, who shared with THE WEEKEND STAR that her wish is to have a home for Christmas.
"One time when it a come on to Christmas, me always get up and paint up in yah, but me nuh have no desire, no intention ... nutten," she lamented.
The old, dilapidated, board structure situated in Sevens Heights, Clarendon, bears testament to the uncomfortable living conditions described by Bailey-Smart.
So bad are the conditions that the elderly woman has sought refuge in the May Pen Market and on the grounds of the May Pen Hospital in the parish. But sleeping in the market unearthed new woes for her. She said that she felt unsafe there and so she decided to venture back to her old house, despite its weak and pitiful state.
"One a the time me say if me dead, me dead, but me a come back under me likkle shelter," she said.
Pointing to a collapsed section of her house, she said, "It can come down pan me anytime. A God make it nuh come down."
Due to her deteriorating health, she is no longer able to push her cart and earn a profit from selling juices. She is now reliant on selling seasonal produce such as cherries, sour sops and sometimes herbs.
"I have a likkle cart that I was pushing, but me cyaa manage yah now. Me get so weak and sick yah now," Bailey-Smart told THE WEEKEND STAR.
The mother of three said that her children are not in a position to help her. "Even right now me sorry fi them too, because me have a son weh a struggle. Him a fe a kotch a him sister sometimes," she said.
Toshane Young, from the National Council for Senior Citizens within the Ministry of Labour and Social Security has been assisting Bailey-Smart, but said the need is too great for any one person to fill. With no proper documentation for the land currently occupied by the senior citizen, Young said that her efforts to get a house for Bailey-Smart have been futile. She is appealing for assistance on behalf of the senior citizen.
"When I came and saw the condition of her house, it broke my heart because as a senior citizen, it is not safe any at all and she can't get a good night's rest. I'm really hoping that somebody or an entity can see that there is a genuine need and reach and assist because as she said, she would like to have a home for Christmas," said Young.