(Trinidad Guardian) Nine-year-old Brandon Roopnarine and his six-year-old brother, Darrion’s fondest wish is to spend Christmas together. The brothers met one week ago in person and talk to each other on the phone when they can. The Sunday Guardian visited the brothers and their families yesterday on the eve of Christmas Eve to see how they were doing.
The boys narrowly escaped death themselves as they were a few paces in front their parents Khemchan Roopnarine, 38 and 36-year-old Patricia, who were struck and killed by a car on Penal Rock Road, two houses away from their home on November 5. No one has been arrested to date. One week after the tragedy, family members were unable to honour the siblings’ wish to stay together and they were separated.
Brandon moved from his father’s home at Penal Rock Road to live with his biological mother, Asha Samlal, at her Fyzabad home along his two stepsisters, aged three and seven.
Darrion now lives at his parents’ house in the care of his uncle, Mohinder Roopnarine, Khemchan’s cousin, at Dow Village, South Oropouche.
Darrion was sitting down quietly with a shy smile on his face at his uncle’s home when we arrived. He put on his helmet and bicycle that Arrive Alive donated to him last Sunday and rode around the living room for cameraman Rishi Ragoonath.
Darrion can be described as quiet. Darrion said “I talk with Brandon on the phone but I want to be with my brother for Christmas. I just want to be with him anywhere as long as we together.
“I’m doing good in school, I’m in Second Year. I like drawing. Uncle and auntie carry me to the malls and movies at C3 and SouthPark to see Ferdinand. Auntie’s food is a lil different from mom’s but good.
“I want a laptop for Christmas and I like KFC.”
Roopnarine said he was doing okay in his school, Delhi Road Hindu School. He was doing good for now, did not give any trouble and was happy.
He said they were taking him later that day to spend some time with his cousins in Penal.
Roopnarine said Darrion did not have any flashbacks of the incident, and he was happy staying with him and his aunt.
Roopnarine said for Christmas Darrion will spend the morning with them and later they will go by his cousins in Penal to exchange and open gifts. When he drops off presents for his brother, Roopnarine said, they can spend the day together.
He said he was going to buy a drum set for Darrion and enrol him in drum class to learn to play as he expressed interest in drumming.
When Roopnarine brought Darrion over to meet his brother at his mother’s place in Fyzabad, it was a touching moment to see the siblings just standing together, gazing lovingly at one another in a silent bond of brotherhood.
Brandon was waiting to give Darrion a ‘tow’ on his bicycle that was also donated by Arrive Alive.
Asha Samlal, Brandon’s biological mother, was about to take him and his two stepsisters to visit their grandparents in Santa Flora.
Brandon, a Standard 3 pupil at Fyzabad Presbyterian School said he likes any food his mother makes for him and he does not know what gifts he is getting for Christmas.
He said he will like to be together with his brother and their families at Christmas at whatever family house they chose to meet.
Samlal said Brandon misses his father a lot and sometimes the memories of him occur when it was time to sleep.
She said he loves going to school and his favourite subjects were mathematics, art and creative writing.
Samlal said things were working out and both boys were settling in to their new homes.
Brandon and Darrion’s Christmas wish to be together started on the eve of Christmas Eve. They are looking forward to spending time together on Christmas day.
The brothers continue to receive counselling.