MONEAGUE, St Ann — In January, Ishamara Dreckette and her four children had no toilet inside their dilapidated house in Clapham, Moneague that was falling down around them. Now they have a new two-bedroom, one-bathroom house with a second sanitary facility outside for good measure.
The house was donated by British Caribbean Insurance Company (BCIC), which worked in conjunction with Food For The Poor. The extra toilet, built outside for use before the new house was ready, was funded through a GoFundMe launched by Public Health Inspector Shavine Rose. It was her way of helping the family after their matriarch was hauled before the courts for ‘parachuting’, a breach of the Public Health Act and the Public Health Nuisance Regulation. Parachuting is a well-known method, in communities that do not have access to toilets, of depositing faeces in bags which are then thrown onto other people’s premises.
The family’s plight was highlighted by the Sunday Observer on January 9 with an appeal to donate to the GoFundMe campaign to generate funds for a toilet. BCIC saw the article and decided to do much more.
“For our 60th anniversary we decided to go with an ethos of giving back and pour into Jamaica. Miss Dreckette’s situation was quite touching when we read the backstory. Being a part of something where we can see tangible and real change take place is exactly the kind of thing that we want to be a part of,” said BCIC Sponsorship and Public Relations Executive Evan Dixon.
Dreckette and her family are ecstatic.
“Mi end up with one bathroom inside because of the new house and the other one outside. God is so good to me and mi can’t tell you how happy I am,” she told the Observer during the handover ceremony on Wednesday.
“The girls them happy and they can’t stop talking about the new house. We don’t have to do what we normally do, because it was not nice. Normally in the other house I would have to lean up the beds and stay in one corner when it rain. When I cook, water would be dropping in the pot from the ceiling. Mi use to cry but thank God I don’t have to go through that again,” she said.
Now when it rains, she often laughs.
“Sometime when the rain a fall I hear them saying, ‘Mommy, see nowhere not leaking’. Mi just have to laugh,” said Dreckette.
The journey has also been a life-changing one for Rose who feels a sense of accomplishment, having impacted the lives of so many. Dreckette is 27; her children are 12, seven, one and three years old.
“It means a lot to me. I am happy to see how happy its makes them, especially the girls. They have wanted this for some time now, the ability to have privacy to sleep comfortably in their home,” she told the Observer.
“My big daughter especially happy for the house because she have her own room right now. So when she come from school she have somewhere to do her homework,” she said.
— Akera Davis