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IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Fire victim still needs help


marciadottin, [email protected]

IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Fire victim  still needs help

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ON?MAY?5, 2011, Norma Gittens arrived home from work to find her house engulfed in flames.
Everything was lost and the prospect of rebuilding seemed a daunting task for this mother of three.
But with some help and perseverance Gittens has been slowly able to pick up the pieces of her life.
Two years ago, she started to rebuild the house at First Avenue Greens, St George, but Gittens has hit a stumbling block and she is now forced to appeal for assistance to complete the house since she has no money left to do so on her own.
Speaking to the WEEKEND?NATION at the site of the unfinished house, Gittens, 59, said she had received assistance from the St George Sports and Social Club which organized a fundraising event, collected donations from residents and also solicited help from churches in the area.
“One day I was at home and someone from the Groves Seventh Day Adventist Church called me and asked how they could help and that started the ball rolling,” a grateful Gittens said. She also received donations from the St Jude’s Anglican Church and the Nazarene Church at Perogative St George to purchase building supplies.
“I?bought a church and converted it into a house,” Gittens said of the unfinished three-bedroom wooden house. She said one of her sons undertook the building of the house.
But Gittens who works at the National Conservation Commission said she had run out of money.
“I borrowed money from my credit union to buy the church and to get some building material. With all of my debts I am only taking home $31 every week,” she cried, adding that her children were all doing odd jobs here and there.
And she has also given up trying to get Government to assist her.
Gittens explained that she went to the National Housing Corporation and applied for a $10 000 grant to rebuild her home.
“A man came and took pictures and I have not heard anything since. I also went to the Rural Development Commission and they told me that they have no money.”
She has been living at her mother since the fire while her two children who were living with her are being housed elsewhere. “My family is scattered all over the place,” she said.
She is anxious to have her house completed so that she can finally move back in. Work still needs to be done on both the exterior and interior and plumbing and electrical work has to be installed.
Having lost everything she owned in the fire, Gittens said she would also need furniture and appliances.
“I tried to remain strong when I came home and found my house burning. I asked God not to let me shed a tear and I have kept on praying that things would change and I would be able to get back in my house some day,” she said.
She is hoping that day would be in time for her 60th birthday next April.
Anyone who wants to help Norma Gittens can contact this column.

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