Tears of joy flowed yesterday as single mother Stacy Valasquez moved out of the pavilion at the basketball court in Bayshore, Marabella, where she had lived with her son for the past three months.
Valasquez, 38 and her ten-year-old son were rescued by members of Muslims of Trinidad and Tobago, who learnt of her sad predicament in a story published in the T&T Guardian on Monday. The organisation will be renting an apartment for them next to the Islamic Missionary Guild and Muslim Centre at Kelly Village, Caroni, for at least six months. They will also help her find a job and enrol her son into a nearby school. Touched by her unfortunate predicament, the organisation has already reached out to their contacts in Barbados in an attempt to find Valasquez’ mother.
Valasquez has received an outpouring of support since her story was published, including from a resident of United States and a reporter from the Nation newspaper in Barbados who offered to help locate Valasquez’ mother.
Wiping away her tears with her hijab yesterday, Valasquez said, “I feel more than overwhelmed. I feel a bubbly feeling, but I feel good.”
Thankful for all the help she has been receiving, Valasquez said she was looking forward to making a fresh start.
“I hope that after this I could really work to get my own,” Valasquez said, adding she never thought that one day she and her son would be homeless and living in a pavilion.
She had a message for people facing similar circumstances.
“Don’t give up, be strong. It is not easy being strong. I understand we are all human beings but we have to do it. Just hold on. He (God) is hearing you. He is there to hear you in the night when nobody is hearing you, crying in a pillow, hugging up your pillow and crying. Hold on and pray.”
Valasquez was also elated that the organisation is helping her to locate her mother.
“That will make me flip and do a somersault. I am telling you that is a big one. I really don’t know where she is. She is a good mother and I just feel something happen to her.”
Valasquez lived with her parents at an apartment at Enid Street, Marabella, but her mother Angela Missette moved to Barbados about ten years ago. She was in constant contact with her mother until almost two years ago, when her mother stopped calling and calls to her mother’s phone went unanswered.
Her father Roderick Valasquez died in July and she had to quit her job to care for her son. Her son was not in school because the Muslim school he attended in Claxton Bay suddenly closed down about eight months ago. Unable to pay the rent and owing $9,000 in arrears, Valasquez and her son were evicted about a month after her father died. They then moved into the pavilion.
Patrick “Boxer” Williams, a friend who lives next to the pavilion, said he was happy that God answered her prayers.
“One thing she always had, that faith that God will help her,” he said as the tears welled.
Muslims of T&T PRO Imtiaz Mohammed said the apartment will be located in a safe community with people who will be supportive of Valasquez and her son. In terms of finding them a permanent home, he said he spoke with Councillor La-verne Smith and is also expected to meet with San Fernando West MP and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi yesterday. He asked anyone willing to assist with the $2,000 rent for the apartment or any donations to contact him at 680-3460.
Mohammed said they had also made some headway in tracking down Valasquez’s mother and he expects some feedback soon.
- by Sascha Wilson