By Andrew Carmicheal
An Ankerville, Port Mourant single parent who bravely faces the challenges of life, simply yearns for a place to call home on this Christmas Day as she currently lives in a makeshift house.
The situation is so dire that her 12-year-old daughter is beating the masquerade drum in order to provide needed finances including funding for her eight-month-old brother’s diapers.
Her 14-year-old daughter has since made other living arrangements for herself.
In the quiet corners of Ankerville, Port Mourant, Corentyne, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), amidst humble homes, lives 35-year-old Anita Lloyd.
For Lloyd, it is a daily struggle as she works under the Government part-time worker initiative earning $40,000 monthly.
“Thing is very hard by the time I buy lil grocery… It is me alone have to find grocery and I have to put baby portage stuff and then send my son to school, so I don’t really get no money – it is only one job I am doing. When my salary runs out before pay day, sometimes we have to stay without food. Many days sometimes me and my children don’t get food. Sometimes we ask neighbours and if they give, they give.”
This publication met Lloyd after her 12-year-old daughter was beating a drum with a masquerade mask in the vicinity of the Port Mourant Market after 18:00h.
When approached, the young girl said she needed to raise $3000 so she could assist her mother to purchase diapers for her eight-month-old brother.
“I don’t afford to send her to school because it is three of them I have with me,” Lloyd said.
With her mother’s permission and in her mother’s presence, this publication spoke with the child after being treated to some of her masquerade drumming.
“Me does try fuh get money to buy things for Christmas and help out mummy,” the child said.
The young girl said she wants to be able to return to school.
After sitting the National Grade Six Assessment earlier this year she has not returned to school.
“In school you get education so that you can do something good in life,” she said but noted that it has been several months and now she no longer misses her school friends.
Since 2018, Lloyd and her family have been living on GuySuCo reserve. She applied for a house lot in 2014, but could not afford to pay for the lot when she received the call from the Housing Ministry.
The family’s daily struggles extend beyond education. With a heavy heart and trembling voice, Lloyd broke down in tears as she revealed that there are days when they go without a meal.
“Sometimes I can only give my son sugar water and sometimes I beg neighbour for food…”
“I feel bad but I can’t do better. For this Christmas I would like if I can get my house because when rain falls the whole place does flood and water would be on the ground. The other day when my daughter went and beat masquerade, I get money and concrete the floor and my friends give me some curtains just so that my children can be a lil comfortable,” the brave woman said even as tears rolled down her cheeks.
After presenting a series of incidents which forced her to take her eldest daughter to the child welfare department and sessions of counselling, the woman said she has now allowed her to make her own living arrangements and she now seems to be settled.
“I don’t have no family member. My mother passed away and I don’t know who is my father. I get a sister but it is just like I get none and I get a brother living in Suriname – nobody don’t check on me,” she said, making it difficult to see through the tears which by then had settled in my eyes.
Persons who are interested in helping Anita Lloyd can contact her on telephone (592) 663-9767.