Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Close-knit community helping fire victim rebuild home

by ANMAR GOODRIDGE-BOYCE anmargoodridgeboyce@nationnews.com

FOUR MONTHS AFTER she lost her home and all her possessions to fire, Esther Clarke may soon be turning her own keys again.

Some good Samaritans in the close-knit community of Sion Hill, St James, have come together to rebuild Clarke’s house in Brathwaite’s Road, following a blaze last October 12 that left her four children, her sister and the sister’s child, and a grandson homeless.

Neighbours, players and administrators of the nearby Newbury Sports Club, residents of Westmoreland and Orange Hill, all in St James, have put their hands to the plough in a collaborative effort, which started a few weeks ago, to ensure Clarke’s wood and wall structure is rebuilt.

They have been aided by monetary donations from the Mount Zion’s Missions, St James Methodist Church, the Seventh-Day Adventists and Carlton Mount Calvary churches, as well as members of corporate Barbados.

Back in October, Clarke, who had only left Treasure Beach Hotel in July in the hope of enjoying her retirement, was in despair after her childhood home was lost to the raging fire that Friday morning. Yesterday, however, she was full of delight when contacted by the DAILY NATION.

“I feel very good. I am happy and blessed; it is really a good feeling,” she said of the community rebuilding efforts.

“Work started on the home about three weeks ago and like I said, it is a blessing; I’m grateful. I want to say thanks to all those people who gave donations and are helping, and the church members.”

Yesterday morning, the work team was on the job mixing mortar and laying blocks, among other activities.

Project coordinator Glenroy Jordan said: “Basically we try to live as neighbours in the community, so we just decided as the guys around, we will help out especially with the labour work. We have so many people involved, it is a very large group trying to make sure this is a success.

“We want everyone involved as we move along. People from all around came just to help. It is a big corporate group that is involved.”

He added he could not say exactly when the house would be completed, as that would be based on the flow of materials.

“Once we get materials, the project will be well done. The deadline is still far out, but this is the start of the process. Most houses usually build in three months so it will depend on how the material keep coming. That is the most important area where corporate Barbados is helping with our mission.

“The process has started. The foundation has been cut, we cast the footing yesterday [Saturday] and we are now building up the blocks to prepare for the floor. That should be done within this week and then the plumbers and electricians will come in.”

Jordan said the team of volunteers would see the project right through to its completion.

“The community is doing its best and the guys are willing to work. We will also look to do the walls, install the roof and start the interior and exterior work around the building, but it will happen in stages. So far things are looking very good in terms of our work but I don’t want to jump the bullet,” he said.

Clarke and her family were housed in a temporary location at an old Democratic Labour Party constituency office in Rock Dundo, less than five minutes away.

FLASHBACK: The raging fire that destroyed the home and belongings of Esther Clarke

and family in Sion Hill, St James, last October 12. (FP)

SOME OF THE volunteers on the job in Sion Hill,

St James, yesterday. (Pictures by Ricardo Leacock.)

PROJECT COORDINATOR Glenroy Jordan speaking about the joint community effort.


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