Dreams do come true!
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The New Hope housing scheme at Onderneeming, West Berbice
The New Hope housing scheme at Onderneeming, West Berbice

–two West Berbice single-parent mothers find out
DREAMS do come true!
Forty-three West Berbice families found this out recently when they became homeowners, thanks in no small measure to Food for the Poor Guyana Inc. (FFP) partnering with two donor agencies to build low-cost houses for the underprivileged.

A very elated mother of seven, Marla James, one of the recipients, told the Guyana Chronicle that she’d always prayed to own a house one day, and her dreams came true sooner than she’d ever expected.

Beaming with joy when she spoke to this newspaper, James, whose children range in age from two to 22, said she will be moving into her new house for the holidays as soon as potable water is installed in the village. The village at reference is located at Onderneeming, West Coast Berbice, in what is known as the New Hope Community Development Project.

Homeowner, Ms Shauna Carmichael
Homeowner, Ms Shauna Carmichael

James presently resides in a rented two-bedroom house where the roof is leaking, the windows are broken and the walls are decaying at Bel Air, a few villages away.

By day she works at the Hopetown Nursery School as a sweeper/cleaner, while at nights she does security work just to make ends meet.

“I took two jobs to ensure my children attend school and to put food on the table,” James said, “because I want them to be educated; I had to make that sacrifice.”

Noting that now she’s gotten a house of her own, life will be a bit easier for her, James recalled that everything happened so fast she still can’t believe she is a homeowner.

“I never thought this would happen so soon; and it made me realise that with prayers and a little help, most things are possible,” James said.

James stated that moving into her new house is her Christmas gift, one she is very happy about since her life has been difficult.

She noted that she will continue to work, but at only one job, as she plans using the extra time tending to her kitchen garden and spending quality time with her children, something she had little time to do holding two jobs.

She recalls having to leave her children at nights with an adult, just to go to work. That was a situation she was not at all pleased about, she said. But with the new house, she can finally get to do the things she wanted to.

When she spoke on behalf of the 43 families last Tuesday at the opening ceremony, she was moved to tears as she spoke of how thankful she is for the gift of a new house.

FFP Chairman, Mr Paul Cahn-A-Sue encouraged the families to keep their surroundings clean, and to plant so their children will have trees to climb, and a aesthetic environment in which to play.

He also urged the residents to make use of the community centre with which they were gifted, since the organisation will be providing them with computers and books, once the village gets electricity.

Another grateful homeowner is Shauna Carmichael, a teacher at Hopetown Nursery, who is still in disbelief that she can finally move out of her parents’ house and into her new modest two-bedroom wooden house with her son.

A widow, Carmichael said she’s always wanted her own place, and prayed fervently that her prayers would some day be answered. And it did when she was approached by FFP.

She, too, will be moving into her new house for Christmas with her son, and could not be happier.

FFP has constructed more than 3300 housing units, free of cost, for underprivileged families across Guyana.

The houses are two bedroom wooden structures 20ft x16ft. Of the 3300 units, more than 500 were constructed as part of 12 villages.

Most of the villages are equipped with sanitation blocks, shower enclosures, community centres, schools and water projects. The villages are located in Regions 1 (Barima-Waini), 2 (Pomeroon-Supenaam), 3 (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and 5 (Mahaica-Berbice).

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