It’s been three months since pensioner Mohan Ramnath and his wife Karen lost their home to a mysterious fire but despite their best efforts to rebuild, rising construction costs have impeded their progress.
Speaking to Guardian Media, Ramnath recalled the psychological trauma they’ve faced ever since all their possessions were burnt to the ground.
Ramnath said he never enjoyed a high paying job but worked hard to make a comfortable life for him and his family.
He educated his two children Sheldon and Shelly and took solace in God. His wife Karen served in the Picton Village council and at the Ragoo Village Sunday School for several decades.
Ramnath said they were thankful for the outpouring of love they received from family and friends after the fire and while that was appreciated, all they wanted was a chance to have their own home once again.
“I can’t see myself starting over at this age. I cannot do it on my own,” Ramnath whispered.
He added, “I am hoping that somebody will help me. I’m praying that one day the day will come and I will look around and not feel sad because right now I am not happy. I don’t sleep well now. I used to be comfortable in my own home, but now that is no more.”
Ramnath said he was always independent and never depended on anyone for anything. In the early days, he and his wife would take $5,000 loans periodically and build their home bit by bit.
After he started collecting a pension, life got better.
Karen said they managed to redo their kitchen before the fire took away everything.
But apart from the loss of material possessions, Karen said they also needed psychological help.
She said her husband has nightmares and has difficulty sleeping.
“He would wake up bawling fire, fire! He cannot sleep soundly. Every day we come back here and spend the day. He is still traumatized and the grandchildren are also traumatized,” Karen said.
Family and friends have stepped forward and donated some materials but this has been enough only for a foundation.
“We still need materials for a roof, plumbing, electricals. If we can get some help with that we will be grateful. We can organize the labour and hopefully, we will have a place to call our own once again,” Karen said.
She said their belief in God and his son Jesus has kept them grounded.
“It not easy losing everything. Since October we have been staying with family but we want to come home and have our own place as we did before,” she added.
Karen said they have submitted requests for a grant from the National Self Help Commission and was hoping to get some kind of aid to complete their home.
Minister of Social Development Donna Cox told Guardian Media that she will organize to have someone contact the family to lend assistance.
Anyone wanting to assist the family with rebuilding their home can call 491-4840 or 349-9973.