Blind amputee and family find help in hard times
Mohabir, 48, who uses a wheelchair, has been unable to provide for his wife Banmattie Mohabir, 46, and his 16-year-old son Monishwar. Banmattie told Stabroek News that she has been trying hard to make ends meet and had to remove her son from school at a young age so he could also earn for the family. Even having a home to call their own was “a dream” for them. Now, thanks to the New Jersery Arya Samaj Mandir Inc. (NJASM), they would soon move into their one-bedroom concrete house at Babu John.
Banmattie explained that when the owners of the house where they had been staying asked them to leave, she begged for more time in order to figure out her next move. “We din had no money; nothing! We din have nowhere to go…,” she lamented. “Me really thankful for the help because we never own a house… and me din expect it woulda happen so fast. Ah feel so nice; ah thank the Lord for it.”
In November, she found out that the NJAMS was building houses for needy persons and approached one of the members of the local chapter for help. She was told that before she could qualify for a house she had to be the owner of a house lot. At that stage she felt she would not be able to get the house after all; she did not own a lot and could not afford to purchase one.
Banmattie later learnt that government provides low cost house lots and through representation by president of the NJASM, Pandit Suresh Sugrim, she was able to acquire the lot much faster than expected. He arranged for her to visit the chairman of Region Six Zulfikar Mustapha, who agreed to assist in speeding up the process. Afterward, the house was completed in less than a week.
‘Amputated’ Life has always been difficult for the family and with Latchman’s disability, the situation became worse. He was ploughing a rice field at Lesbeholden, Black Bush Polder, where he belonged to, when the tractor toppled. Luckily he managed to jump off in time. He hurt his left leg but did not take it seriously. Three days later, it began to swell and Banmattie accompanied him to the doctor to receive treatment. His leg, however, continued to deteriorate and Mohabir was later diagnosed was diabetes. Tried as they did, Latchman’s doctors were unable to save the foot. The ankle was first amputated and then two months later the entire leg had to be removed.
His late brother Bharrat, who was based in the US, bought Latchman a prosthetic leg but he has never been able to walk with it and instead he has used a wheelchair for mobility. As if his troubles were not enough, Latchman lost his sight in both eyes two years ago.
While Bharrat, 54, had been providing regular financial assistance to the family, he fell while putting up Christmas decorations about two years ago and he died. Banmattie said that since his death, coping has been very difficult for the family. Her son, Monishwar, was forced to drop out of secondary school at the second form level, because the family could not afford to continue sending him, while her daughter, Rookmanie, 21, got married about a year ago and now lives at Tain.
‘Dreams come true’
Now, Banmattie is grateful to the NJASM, the regional chairman and others who helped her dreams to come true. Pandit Sugrim told Stabroek News that when the members of his organisation learnt about the family’s plight, they did not hesitate to render assistance “to give them a brighter tomorrow… I’m happy that we could have reached out to the family and give them a second chance.” The NJASM had been providing Monishwar, as well as other children, with school supplies. Sugrim explained that the organisation is “trying to empower him to have an education or learn a trade.”
Banmattie was working at a supermarket. After Latchman became blind, she stopped. She has since been selling vegetables from her kitchen garden to earn an income and she also does domestic chores for residents. Still, the family has been struggling to survive. “We struggling but wah me gon do? Me naa give up. Me doing housework for people and planting a little kitchen garden…”
She will continue her gardening when she moves to Babu John and she is also interested in rearing poultry. Monishwar started working at a supermarket but he quit the job to assist with building the house.
Meanwhile, members of the Mandir at Black Bush Polder provided the family with a few pieces of materials to add a kitchen to the new house and relatives are helping to build it. Furnishings like beds and other items are still needed for the house, though. The family can be reached at 616-3359.