Mother seeks to rebuild after fire destroys house
Peta-Gaye Martin, a mother of six, has been house-hopping with her children for the past seven months after a fire damaged their house on Hanover Street, downtown Kingston, in May.
Martin, who has been struggling to reconstruct a place of her own since, says her only wish for the New Year is to provide her children with a more comfortable life.
"Me would a love to move in for the new year because the kids them all over too, some at my mother and some have to be staying with their father, and me have the three little one with me," she told THE STAR. "People want them space too, so me a stay at my boyfriend house sometimes, other times is at my friend house, or my sister house, and I just feel like a burden sometimes."
Martin is currently in the process of constructing a two-bedroom house in the same spot that was gutted, but it is not at the stage where it is habitable.
"When me get a little money me save it and a it me a use to build up to where it is now, but it pause now because me don't have any more material," she said "The housetop left to go on, it must flash out, paint, a whole heap a little thing left."
Corporate Jamaica and at least one state entity has so far come to the aid of Martin and her family. Through a programme coordinated by the United Way of Jamaica, the 36-year-old mother was recently presented with $60,000 in grocery vouchers along with a stove, bed and mattress by Scotiabank to help her cope a little better with her situation over the holidays.
She has also received donations from the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education, as well as family and friends, which she says will still require additional funds to complete her rebuilding efforts.
Yvett Anderson, Scotiabank district vice-president, said the bank "felt compelled to give assistance to Ms Martin, who resides only a few metres from our corporate headquarters".
"As a mother, we also recognised that she was in need and so we are happy to support her efforts to provide for her young family," Anderson said.
Martin expressed that she is overwhelmed with joy that someone thought of bringing joy to her family.
"Me feel good to know that people really want to help me and because they don't even know me and they find time and reached out to me," she said.
Martin's push to get a roof over her head comes at a time of great hardship for many who have experienced similar tragedy. Just last week, 30 persons, including Amy James, 100, and her 90-year-old best friend Vileta Taylor, were left homeless after fire gutted a tenement yard in sections of Church Street and Love Lane in downtown Kingston. She feels that pain.
"Me feel a way for everybody who lose them place to fire. Me know exactly how them feel and it not easy. To make it worse, if them nuh have nobody to stay with or anywhere to sleep, trust me, it rough. That's why my biggest thing right now is just to get back a roof over my head, and I want others to get help too," Martin told THE STAR.
Persons willing to assist Peta-Gaye Martin in her rebuilding efforts may contact her at (876) 320-4561