Most mothers will be happy to be pampered and showered with gifts today but not Rita, of Bush Lot Village, West Coast Berbice.
At 29, Rita, a single mother of five is hoping for something more—a house lot to build a home for herself and her children. “If I have my own lot, I will be able to do more things. Where me deh here, me can’t mind duck or fowl,” she told Stabroek News.
Rita has been fending for herself and her children for over three years. She gets up early in the mornings and picks branches to make brooms with the help of her eldest child, a 14-year-old son. “I does go in the bush, search the branch, bring it, make the broom and me children walk and sell it just to get lil food in me pot,” she said.
Rita also sells peppers, which she plants on the small piece of land she squats on.
Rita said that after she had her first child she separated from his father. However, she fell in love with another man and during this relationship she had three more children. Things were looking bright for Rita until her reputed husband left the country and never returned. She said he also never supported their children in any way. Rita, however, gave love another chance and ended up having another child, making her now a mother of five. However, her last common-law husband also ended up abandoning her.
When asked about relatives, Rita explained that her mother lives a few houses away and sells brooms as well. “Me get two brother alive. All a we poor just so,” she said.
In fact, her 14-year-old son sat the National Grade Six Assessment and had been awarded the Fort Wellington High School but Rita could not afford to send him since she has two other children attending primary school.
Pandit Suresh Sugrim, attached to the New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Inc Humanitarian Mission, after becoming aware of Rita’s situation, immediately sought assistance from his donors in New Jersey and bought Rita months’ supplies of food. Rita was also given a basket containing soaps, creams, body wash, body spray and much more as her Mother’s Day gift. Pandit Sugrim will be working with Rita to help her get her eldest son in school and to make a better life for her and her children.