IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Life no bed of roses
Living in a galvanised shed for the past three years has taken a toll on 47-year-old Dawn Bowen.
She suffers from the chronic inflammatory disease lupus, is blind in one eye and her fingers are severely swollen and bent, making it difficult for her to do the simplest of tasks.
But despite her serious health issue, Bowen still has to care and provide for her nine-year-old son, who lives with her in the cramped shed.
Their two beds are stacked in a corner, a stove takes up some of the space while all of their clothes and other belongings are just thrown in a heap in another corner. Battery-operated lanterns are her only source of light at night.
“It is very hot in here,” Bowen cried, adding that because there was no electricity, her son could not watch television.
As to how she got to be living in such terrible conditions, Bowen explained that she was renting a room for a number of years but after she became ill as a result of lupus, she could no longer work and pay her rent.
She had no choice but to move into the shed at Sayes Court, Christ Church.
“My dad, who is elderly, told me to move into the shed in the backyard of the house where my brothers live. My dad tries to help by giving us some food when he can.”
She added that the welfare cheque of $62 which she received bi-weekly had stopped coming since August.
Hardly able to walk because of the pain in her joints, Bowen said she just did not have the energy to go to the Welfare Department to plead her case. “I telephoned them and I was told that the cheques would start coming back but I don’t know when,” she said.
In addition, because she cannot always get to the hospital’s pharmacy to fill her prescription she has to look for $20 to buy medication from a nearby pharmacy when her pain becomes unbearable.
“I cannot afford to go up and down and I don’t have anybody to help me. My other children try to help out sometimes but they have their own problems.”
Pointing out that living in the shed was not a good situation for her and her child, Bowen is appealing for assistance in getting at least a one-bedroom home in the Christ Church area where she resides.
“I would like to get some place for me and my son to live so that we can function properly. This is no place to be raising a child,” she said.