Not an easy road for Sidia
Mother struggles to provide for her children after losing all in fire
Andrew Harris, Gleaner Writer
It hasn't been an easy road for vendor Sidia Brown. But despite losing everything to a fire that destroyed her home on November 8, giving up is not an option, as the mother of four seeks to get for her children a place to rest their heads at night.
When The Gleaner caught up with Brown recently, she was trying to earn the funds to pay back what she had borrowed from a friend by doing her usual vending at a funeral.
Her determination was clear, as she was still using two of the igloos that got damaged in the fire to carry out her hustling, along with another one that she borrowed from a friend.
"I can't imagine life harder than it is now, but I have to make things better for my children," said Brown, as she served a customer a drink.
Brown was at her stepmother's mother's nine night when she received a distressing call that she should hurry home because her house was on fire.
She tried her best to make it home from Mountain View in Kingston, where she was at the time, to Drewsland where she lived. But when she got home, all she saw was the firemen and the policemen on the scene and an empty lot where her home used to be.
"I lost everything in the fire that night," said Brown.
"The only thing that was saved, was my son's tablet that he got through the tablets in schools programme," she added.
Though unsure of the cause of the fire, Brown said an eyewitness saw a man she knows running from the yard a few minutes before the blaze started.
She said a relative had come to live with her after an unhappy relationship and she could not have turned her away, so she took her.
Brown lived at Drewsland with two of her sons who are currently in school. One of her boys is 17 years old and was expected to sit four subjects in the 2015 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, while the other, at nine years old, is currently in primary school.
She said the money she had to pay for her elder son's subjects also got destroyed in the fire and her son might now be unable to do CSEC next year.
When Brown lost her house she received help from the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), which gave her three mattresses and three bags of goodies and was told by the councillor for the Molynes Gardens division, Patrick Roberts, that he would try and offer some assistance, but had not yet heard back from him.
"The hardest part is not in the day, because one can always go anywhere in the day, but when night comes, it reality hits you. You are going to a friend's house while your children are going to another friend's house," said Brown, as she fought to hide the tears in the corners of her eyes.
She was able to secure a uniform each for her two children, who went back to school last week Monday.
"Honestly, I would love to be able to know that my children have a place to rest their heads comfortably at nights and they are able to have all they need at school, such as their books and other school supplies," she said as she served another customer.
"I have to be up from five (a.m.) after the incident, just to make sure they are going to school in the mornings and, when I don't have the money, then they know they have to stay home until things are better for us," she added.
Anyone who would like to assist Sidia Brown can contact her at 323-5154.