For the first time in years, Salmattie Garibsingh is looking forward to her birthday on November 4.
Garibsingh, who is blind and bedridden, was visited by officials from the Ministry of Social Development on Wednesday at her Arena Road, Freeport home.
Help came after Guardian Media highlighted her living conditions on Tuesday. She was promised three grants, one to complete her home, another to install electrical wiring and the third to furnish the house. She was also promised a food card and a new wheelchair.
Speaking to Guardian Media after the visit, a tearful Garibsingh described the ministry’s representatives and members of the public who have reached out to help her as "angels."
“God will bless them, I am so happy today that they come to visit and promise to help me. My birthday is November 4, I will have a good birthday this year, I feel like God is answering all of my prayers,” she said.
“In a few weeks, I won’t get wet on my bed when rain falls and I will have a new wheelchair to move about in.”
Garibsingh, 62, lives with her husband Mahadeo Ragbir, 58, and their son, Mitchell Ragbir, 23.
Mahadeo is often unwell as he suffers from an enlarged prostate and high blood pressure, which leaves him unable to hold a steady job.
Mitchell has no formal education or training as he left school at age ten to care for his mother when her left foot was amputated due to complications from diabetes. He remains his mother’s primary caregiver, giving her baths, feeding her and giving her medication on a daily basis.
The family depends mostly on the $1,800 disability grant that Garibsingh use to buy their food, pay utility bills and buy her medication.
Garibsingh was able to join a sou sou earlier this year and used those funds to begin constructing a home. She was able to complete the foundation and walls but the house remains bare of any windows or doors and the roof is in desperate need of repair. Already, a donor has stepped to sponsor the cost of the roof.
- by Sharlene Rampersad