RADHICA DE SILVA
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, former MovieTowne maintenance worker Jovianna Edmund has become a shadow of her former self.
Painfully thin, her face etched with worry, the young mother of four is now homeless.
Three weeks ago, her landlord finally kicked her out because she could not pay her rent.
With her children in tow, Edmund was forced to move all of their belongings to the Revival Time Assembly Church in Kings Wharf, San Fernando.
Her children aged 12, 10, eight and five, were then separated and sent to stay with two relatives.
In an interview with Guardian Media, Edmund said she had finally hit rock bottom and could see no way of climbing out of the hole in which she found herself.
“When I look back on my life, I really feel sad. It was not a nice life. I never went to Secondary School. I never had a close relationship with my siblings who all had the same father but different mothers. I was the only child for my father and mother and I never fit in with my half brothers and sisters,” she said.
Edmund said she wanted to make something of herself and so she started studying computers at Servol Life Centre. She became qualified in networking, repairs and literacy. It was there she met the man who would father her first three children.
However, as the relationship went downhill, she said they broke off and she sought assistance at a women’s shelter.
“I lived from place to place, different places with the children after we left the shelter. I was babysitting, caregiving, housekeeping, live-in jobs, I used to leave the children with their father sometimes,” she said.
She said she worked in a daycare for two and a half years and then got a better job at MovieTowne.
Edmund said she started going to Faith Centre and met Kesther Ragoobar. Believing that her life was heading for better, Edmund said she got pregnant but Ragoobar left her.
On February 8, 2019, Ragoobar, 29, was killed after being robbed of $25,000 casino winnings.
Edmund said Ragoobar’s rejection of her took a toll on her health.
She struggled with trauma and began getting mental break-downs. In 2018, after being hospitalized, Edmund left MovieTowne with the hope of returning when she was better.
In March 2020 the pandemic hit and the MovieTowne branch in Chaguanas was subsequently closed down.
People who previously helped her could no longer do so and in February, Edmund said she was given notice that she had to vacate the apartment at Carapichaima.
“My mother took all four children but I could not stay there with her because (name called) doesn’t want me there,” Edmund said.
She explained that the separation of her children and her deteriorating health was a constant worry.
“Right now I have pains in my chest, headaches, my back and under my ribs. I have acid reflux because I go hungry many times. The doctors in the hospital ran some tests and said nothing is wrong with me. But why am I getting all this pain,” she said.
Edmund said she was dreading the day when she would be released from the hospital.
“When I leave here I don’t know where to go. What to do. I am not close with my siblings. My mother cannot take me in and my father is now dead,” she added.
Edmund said she wanted to have her own place so she could care for her four children.
“I had applied for an HDC house ten years ago. I have a reference number. I attended Servol and I can do computer repairs and networking. If I can get a place to stay with my children and I get some stability, I will be able to do better,” she said.
Contacted for comment, founder of MovieTowne Derek Chin said many people became dispossessed when the country went into a lockdown. Describing Edmund as a good employee, Chin said Edmund left because she became quite sick and could not work.
“My HR has been in touch and was able to tell me about her. She said that her mind has been affected because of abuse. We assisted with her NIS claims and other benefits and we are sorry to hear of her current plight,” Chin said.
He added that his team will follow-up and see how Edmund was doing.
Chin noted that thousands of people are in the same position as Edmund.
“COVID and its consequences have created economic and social upheaval globally,” he added.
Anyone wanting to assist Edmund can contact her at 681-8907.