When the T&TEC truck lumbered down the hill towards her home last Tuesday, Cheryl Ramnath’s heart soared.
“I want to scream, Thank you a million. You brought Christmas in May!” Ramnath told the T&TEC workers as they hooked up an electrical supply for the first time, to her plywood home at School Road, Cushe.
And when they flicked on the lights, her children whooped with joy.
Ramnath, her husband Emilio Perreira and their two children, aged 13 and eight, had lived in the remote community since 2007 as regularised squatters. Even though they had a pipe-borne water supply, they never had current.
It had been their dream to have their home electrified with the gadgets of modern-day living.
Since 2009, Perreira had applied but because they had no land tenancy, this was a problem.
When COVID-19 hit and classes went online, Ramnath said her children’s grades began to drop.
In desperation, she bought a WiFi gadget and used her car’s battery to power it.
Because of poor signal, she often had to drive out the road to a nearby pavilion for her son to do his online classes.
On April 22, she reached out to the CNC3 News team via Facebook begging for some assistance for her children.
Within three weeks of the story being aired, the family got electricity.
“I never expected that everything would happen so fast. After the story ran many people called us offering help,” Ramnath said. The house was wired and approvals were granted.
Ramnath said living in a house with electricity made everything easier. In days gone by, her son used to walk out of the road to get ice from neighbours, but now with electricity, they can get ice from their fridge.
The children can sit down during the night to do their homework. They can get access to their online classes.
Living with electricity was a dream come true.
“I am getting used to it now. The best thing about having electricity is the feeling of safety it gives us at nights. The children are no longer scared,” she added.
Before they got their electricity supply, the family used kerosene lamps and a fuel-powered generator. But it was old and broke down frequently, Ramnath said. The cost of fuel was also high, she added.
“We are happy that we don’t need that again. Finally, we feel comfortable staying at home. The children are happy and I know they are going to do better at school,” she said.
She praised the team from T&TEC which included communications assistant in San Fernando Lester Lal, general manager Kelvin Ramsook, area manager Richard Sitahal and assistant area manager in San Fernando, Vijai Ramnanansingh as well as the T&TEC crew who hooked up their electrical supply.
“Mr Lal visited us and was very professional and helpful. We have a lot to be grateful for,” she said.
Saying her children now had an opportunity to excel at school, Ramnath and she and her husband will continue to work hard and strive to do what is right for their family and their community.
Neither of the children have devices, but Ramnath says they will work hard to provide whatever they could for their children. Ramnath collects her daughter’s schoolwork weekly while her son uses her phone to do his online classes.
Anyone wanting to assist the children with devices or appliances can call them at 357-7222 OR 334- 0127.