Mon | Oct 23, 2017

Romeo Francis pleads for help for his two children

Published:Saturday | November 5, 2016 | 12:21 AMShanique Samuels
Romeo Francis says that although the hustling is slow at times, he gets up every morning and go out because he has responsibilities and doesn't want to be labeled among the statistics of delinquent fathers in Jamaica. With his children, daughter, Michelle-Lee and son, Romeo.

Romeo Francis and his two children were left homeless after his four-bedroom dwelling was destroyed by fire last month. He watched helplessly as his nearly two decades of hard work and earnings went up in flames.
“It’s like somebody try to break into the house through one of the back window, but when they couldn’t get in they throw fire into the room on the bed, then the whole house catch a fire and by the fire truck come the whole house burn down,” he explained, adding that no one was at home when the incident happened. 
Francis, along with his spouse, two children and a cousin occupied the premises in Cocoa Walk in Chapelton, Clarendon.
“Mi come see the house on fire and mi kick off the door and dash three bucket a water and the fire blaze up an mi affi ease out,” he said, adding that if a fire truck were in Chapelton he could have saved something, but lamented that because he had to wait on a unit from May Pen to respond, he lost everything.
“Mi lose everything: all the stuff mi buy fi mi youth dem back-to-school shell dung all mi have left a just the clothes on mi back. The juice and igloo mi use fi mi hustling burn up and all mi money burn up inna di house,” he said with a blank look on his face.
“Mi daughter get a suit of uniform from the guidance counselor at her school and mi hustle and buy back a suit a khaki fi mi son. Mi a look a likkle help fi start up back mi thing and try rise up because me have mi youth dem fi take care of. Anything mi make mi just share it fi me and them and we just gwaan satisfy. Mi go several places a look help and mi no get no help cause it rough ya now pan mi fi school di two youth dem and the hustling slow,” he told Family & Religion.
Francis said he has been selling juice since 1990 and has managed to survive until now, but bouncing back after a fire is proving to be quite challenging, especially since he has the two children. He said he has been caring for his daughter, Michelle-Lee, since she was eight months old when her mother left her with him. She is now nine years old, and her brother, Romeo, seven.
He says that although the hustling is slow at times, he gets up every morning and go out because he has responsibilities and doesn’t want to be labeled among the statistics of delinquent fathers in Jamaica. He says hustling has put bread on his table and to clothe his children and pay his bills but he’s at his breaking point right now.
“It affect me bad man, a eye top me deh pan a gwaan kotch round, so if me can get a likkle house and some help fi try back some juice me would be grateful cause me is a hustler, mi no idlers but right now it bitter pan mi, all mi a try it just naa work out.”
Francis said his son is visibly affected by the loss as he lost all his toys and it breaks his heart as a parent not to be able to provide any immediate comfort for his children.
Francis can be contacted at 315-1462 if you are willing to offer assistance.
familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com