‘MAROONING’ PROVIDES CAFÉ BEAU HILL RESIDENTS WITH SHELTER
(Written in UK English)
Effusive smiles were omnipresent on Saturday as Café Beau Hill residents rallied around one other to construct two homes for fellow neighbours, Raymond Stroude and Shanon Williams.
The initiative, which was made possible through the efforts of Parliamentary Representative for South St. George, Glynis Roberts, was reminiscent of yesteryear’s maroons. Equipped with hammers and other construction paraphernalia, and a spirit of goodwill, residents took to the mound from daybreak, working through the blazing sun.
While the women prepared the afternoon meal donated by Foam and Bedding, the men took to the mound constructing the homes. Pledging their support to the cause, politicians Peter David, Karl Hood and Arley Gill, as well as Minister for Works and engineer Joseph Gilbert, and Pastor Stanford Simon of One Call Construction Ltd., were all seen investing countless hours of sweat equity to the cause.
By nightfall two 12 x 12 homes were erected; the first for Stroude, and the second for Williams.
Stroude, a heart patient who had been living in deplorable conditions since Hurricane Ivan damaged his home in 2004, was overjoyed by the event. “I feel so happy,” he said repeatedly. “I’m so appreciative of their help.”
Stroude, who recalled his clothes being drenched every time rain fell, is looking forward to putting those days behind him.
A fellow neighbour brought his plight to the attention of MP Roberts last year. In her capacity as the MP, as well as the Minister for Labour, Social Security and Ecclesiastical Affairs, Roberts took it upon herself to visit Stroude’s residence personally. So moved by his plight, the MP made the situation her priority.
“The very same day we came to visit his home in September, last year, we were able to get part of the materials,” said Roberts, who participated in Saturday’s building project.
Through the help of Ramdhanny LL & Co Ltd, Jonas Browne & Hubbard Ltd, Aquarium Beach Club & Restaurant and other private individuals, Roberts was able to gather all of the necessary building materials.
As for her decision to help not just Stroude but Williams as well, Roberts credits this to the concern showed by another Café Beau Hill resident.
“An elderly lady called us to say she was very concerned about him; so we decided to try for two instead of one,” she said.
Williams, who suffers from epilepsy, is extremely pleased that Roberts tried for two. The Café Beau Hill resident, who had been somewhat homeless, was all teeth on Saturday.
“I feel really happy,” he said. “I was surprised too, ‘cause I didn’t know this was going on for me until my aunt called me and told me about it. I tell people all the time that NDC is one of the best parties right now because they help a lot of people, not only me. They are helping a lot of Grenadians achieve a lot of things and I think that is a really beautiful thing.”
It is Roberts’ intention to continue helping the two men. “This is just the first step in improving their lives,” she promised. “What we want to do is not just put up a house. We want to be able to put little things in them because this is a new beginning.”
Both men are expected to receive stoves under government’s “Energy Poor Programme,’’ as well as furnishings donated by private individuals and firms. Additionally, according to Roberts, help will be sought from Social Services to ensure that the men are counselled and encouraged to move forward.
It is her hope to continue engaging in other similar initiatives, which she believes help to revive the Maroon spirit of building communities. “We are here working with people from the community to do this project,” she said. “I think it’s excellent that we can pool our resources and use our talents. I strongly believe that strong communities build strong nations.”