Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer
RIVERSDALE, St Catherine:
IN 1976, when the Mighty Diamonds released their hit song, I Need a Roof Over My Head on the album titled Right Time, Ionie Major of Crawle, Riversdale, in St Catherine, was 39 years old.
Though not a singer, over the past few years, she has been forced to hum this tune many times over.
In fact, she has even substituted the word 'my' with 'our' as she and her 35-year-old daughter, Ophine, are almost out in the cold.
But they are not alone. Concerned citizens like Esme Jarrett, president of the Crawle/Riversdale Senior Citizens' Club, have tried on several occasions to secure a comfortable place of abode for them.
"I am concerned about her, not only because she is an elderly person and a member of the club, but the house is in a bad state. I really fear for her daughter and the conditions they are living in," Jarrett told The Gleaner.
She added: "The house is lean. This house has been here for a very long time - a very, very long time. Her husband, Charles, built it. He died in 2002. There is a big hole in the board floor, and you can't even walk too hard on it," bemoaned Jarrett.
Moreover, the two-room dilapidated house is situated in an isolated area of the community.
"When there is a storm threat, they have to leave and go somewhere else. No one really lives what you would say next door, so it's very sad, and the condition of the furniture, the condition inside the house, everything is just in a terrible state," said Jarrett.
AFRAID TO LEAVE MOM ALONE
Major's daughter said she is afraid to leave her mom alone at home to find employment.
"Is not work I couldn't work, but nobody not here with her, so I have to stay and look after her because she can't walk by herself. She is on medication, and I don't want anything bad to happen to her," the younger Major told The Gleaner.
The vulnerable senior also suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes, and other ailments.
"I not feeling no pain, but mi foot dem weak, and sometimes dem feel heavy. Dem no feel good. Mi taking doctor medicine, but him no really tell me what wrong wid dem," she explained, while trying to get up from her bed to look through the back door.
And even as Jarrett, who often spends time with her, combing her hair and giving her words of encouragement, tried to help her to her feet, her wish was for some good Samaritan to answer her plea for a proper roof over her head.
"They need a house. They have land they can build a house on. I have tried many times to see if they could get a house, so I am trying now through this medium. I hope Food For The Poor, or some other agency like the National Council for Senior Citizens, or someone - anyone who has a heart - can have mercy on them because their living condition is deplorable," Jarrett pleaded.
A helpless Major, whose son provides food for her when he can, muttered, "Mi woulda glad for a house, but if mi nuh get it, mi nuh know wha a go happen because me can't help miself and mi nuh have nobody who can help me."