by Emmanuel Joseph
A family of four, including two girls, who are forced to share a bucket as an indoor toilet whenever it rains, are appealing to the authorities for assistance.
Their plight was revealed on a visit to the St Michael home of common-law couple Mitchell Dawe and Kathy-Ann Alleyne, who called Barbados TODAY to publicise their situation. No piped water has existed at their home for the past 40 years.
The parents of 10-year-old and 13-year-old girls are particularly worried that even when it is not raining, their daughters have to venture into an open yard where the security fence is inadequate to shield them from prying eyes as they journey to an outdoor make-shift bathroom, already infested with cockroaches and rodents.
Their mother, 52, is adamant that the lack of running water has also created a “very” uneasy state of affairs when family members have to queue up to use the same bucket, especially at night when the unlit yard turns into a “waterfall” which gushes through the area from uphill during a downpour.
An emotional father, 54, said while the house requires some repairs to parts of the kitchen, floor and roof, the most pressing and urgent need is for authorities to assist the family by installing an indoor plumbing system for the supply of water which would also facilitate the erection of inside toilet and bath.
The landscaper said his ability to work regularly is limited by a debilitating injury which shifted the majority of the breadwinning obligations on the shoulders of his partner, a home care assistant employed by the state-owned National Assistance Board (NAB).
“Right now, I need the house a little renovating. But the most thing I really need is water. I would appreciate that there,” Dawe told Barbados TODAY.
“Plus the little girls getting big, they aren’t any more little babies.”
Asked if they ever reached out to any government agencies for help, Alleyne said the Urban Development Commission “came and took pictures, but never reached out to us anymore…10 years ago”.
Dawe revealed a lifetime of fetching water from the nearest community pipe a quarter of a mile away.
He declared: “I would like some help. I was ‘bout here too long. I was living down here all of my years. I was catching water all of my years. The other day, some people down here were pirating water so the [authorities] come and stopped most of it.”
“We were bathing in buckets for the longest time now,” he added.
“I just want the little girls to be happy. I don’t even care about myself…. If I was by myself and I had to catch water for baths, I wouldn’t dig nothing. But you see my little girls, they getting big women, man. You understand?”
The daughters also have to contend with roaches and rats as they use the buckets in the outdoor toilet and bath, the mother explained.
Dawe and Alleyne recalled receiving funds from the Welfare Department but said the money had stopped without explanation.
Deputy Chief Welfare Officer Kim Bobb-Waithe told Barbados TODAY the department would investigate the plight of the family.
Up to the time of publication, UDC Director Sonia King could not be reached for comment.