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New Year starts with shelter woes - Unhappy to be sheltering from the storm

New Year starts with shelter woes
Unhappy to be sheltering from the storm

In Dominica, although many of the 3,000 people who were originally staying in the shelters that were set up after Hurricane Maria struck on 18 September have now left, some 450 remain. The Dominica Grammar School in the capital Roseau is still home to around 30 people who have been told they have to leave as the school needs to reopen for its original purpose. Donna Serrant, a mother of five (who has Joshua, nine, and Nathalia, 19 months, with her) talks about the difficulties of life in the shelter.
“I am not too happy about being here. I wish I was at my home because I was so comfortable there. My home was demolished. It fell down flat.  The environment here is not the best, we can’t do the things we would normally do, like using the kitchen as we like. 
It’s having a big effect on my children. Because first of all my son is supposed to be at school right now. He should be more active and to me he’s looking more stressed out than before. He’s not happy at all. I wish we could have been out of here sooner than now. My daughter is also supposed to be at school but as her school is this shelter, we are occupying the place where she should be. It’s not a nice feeling, not a nice feeling at all.
I’ve seen changes in my two children who are with me now, Joshua and Nathalia. To me Joshua is more troublesome. The language that people use here is affecting him too. And my daughter Nathalia. She repeats everything she hears, like the cursing. People here curse a lot.
My kids are not getting the best and I feel very sad. I’m also stressed out a lot. I’m very disappointed that all my kids are not with me. The others are at my mother’s home but I would like to be there to know what they’re doing but I can’t because there’s no room. I would like to know how they eat, how they sleep, where they go….I’m very, very unhappy. Sometimes I just cry because I’m not feeling ok. Before Maria I was doing ok.  I used to work at Dominica State College. I was a security guard for nine years but, since the hurricane, the roof went at the college and some of us got laid off. Since then I’ve been unemployed.
I see a lot of people have gone home, most people have left the shelter. I wish it was me that could have been at my home now. But I’m happy for them though.
Now we have been told that we have to leave soon as they want to turn the shelter back into a school. I have no idea where I’m going to go.
The authorities say that if we find somewhere to rent then they will pay for us but how the country is right now there is nowhere to rent, everyone is looking for a house to rent. 
I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Most of my family, they’re abroad. So if I could make a little something to buy a ticket then I would go to them in St Lucia. That’s what I’m hoping for.




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