SUCKER GARDEN–After Hurricane Irma completely pulverized her home and destroyed all her possessions in September last year, mother of three Indira Romney had no idea how she would recover from the devastation and where she would house her young children, including a baby who was one month old at the time.
“The roof was going piece by piece, so when one piece went, we tried to run into the bathroom, but when the bathroom roof went as well, we had to run out of the house with the kids to go by a neighbour,” she recounted. “It was a scary time for all of us and I was depressed after the storm. I was very sad.”
With no job at the time Romney, could not see any light at the end of the tunnel. She had been staying at the home of relatives and later an uncle provided accommodation for them.
Her woes were alleviated when she was contacted by Community Aid Sentry Hill (CASH) Foundation, headed by Henri Brookson, informing her that her destroyed home at Arch Road #88 in Sucker Garden would be rebuilt with a concrete roof and be made hurricane safe at no cost to her.
The reconstruction of the home has been completed and Romney was all smiles when Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt and foundation President Brookson presented her with the keys to the two-bedroom, one-bath home during a ceremony at the home on Friday.
Brookson was particularly happy with the handover, as Romney had been a pupil of Sister Marie Laurence School in Middle Region at the time when he served as principal of that school.
“I don’t like it, I love it,” a visibly excited Romney said just before accepting her keys. “I am happy that my family and I can now move back into our home and move on with our lives.”
After receiving her keys, Romney and her children, now ages six, four and 11 months, went inside their new home to check it out. The family has to finalise finishing touches on the home such as tiling the floor.
Romney’s home was reconstructed at a cost of US $52,000. The funds were donated to CASH Foundation by the Brookson and Paas families (from the Netherlands). Both families had pledged to give back to the local society with proceeds from the sale of Emilio Wilson Estate and the handing over of the keys of the first home is testament of their commitment.
CASH Foundation was established by Brookson on May 5, 2017, with the aim of providing financial aid to organisations, foundations and groups that contribute positively to the education, development, wellbeing and care of the youth, differently-abled and senior citizens. The foundation also aims at supporting organisations that promote the island, care for the preservation of the local nature, promote agriculture and the culture of St. Maarten
The home was constructed by Terra Management and Development under the leadership of Patrick Drijvers and his team. Remarkable about the project was that the home was constructed in a record 24 days. Drijvers said the home was constructed of concrete with the inner core being a special foam that serves as insulation to keep heat (and cold) out of the home.
The type of material used is part of Terra Management’s efforts to construct low-cost homes for residents, while still maintaining quality. Drijvers said idea to construct low-cost homes began seven years ago when he realised that construction prices were skyrocketing and residents could not afford to build their dream homes. He researched and found the foam product that can be used to help lower the cost of construction while still maintaining quality.
He constructed seven homes using the product and he boasted that all the homes stood up during Hurricane Irma. He said Romney’s home had been constructed from scratch in 24 days using local workers, whom he thanked for their efforts.
Double-length PVC pipes were run through the roof of Romney’s home in an effort for the family to have warm water running through their taps and shower.
Romney’s home is one of 11 that the foundation will be repairing or rebuilding depending on the extent of hurricane damage sustained. Work is expected to start right away on two more houses: one in St. Peters and the other in Little Bay.
Romney was selected from a list of vulnerable families within the Catholic schools. Superintendent of Catholic Schools Ria Uiterloo said the Catholic schools had been asked to select families for the project.
CASH Foundation consists of three persons: President Brookson, Secretary Edward Dest and legal advisor Groeneveldt.
Brookson thanked everyone who contributed in one way or another to realise the construction of the first home. He urged anyone interested in assisting the foundation in executing its efforts to feel free to donate. He said even US $1 can assist.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/78827-displaced-family-of-five-gets-new-home-from-foundation