By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
Before the disasters of 2017 *Anna was the working mother of a newborn baby boy who had her own apartment in Huntums Ghut.
But, after hurricanes Irma and Maria, she became jobless and homeless and for the last several months, she has been living in shelters and raising her son among strangers.
Anna first moved into the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex in October but recently relocated with others to the Long Trench Community Shelter on Tortola.
Life is hard
The mother of the now one-year-old infant is trying to get back on her feet but it has been an uphill battle, she told BVI News yesterday, May 31.
“It’s rough,” the British Virgin Islands native said, referring to her securing full-time employment and keeping herself and her son fed.
Highlighting the considerable number of unemployed residents who are also job hunting, the former cashier said: “I think my chances are slim but I put my applications out there. I’m still looking.”
She recently made headway by landing a part-time cleaning job in the afternoons while a friend babysits her infant.
Shelter living is difficult
Coupled with her employment woes, Anna said residing with at least 15 other residents at the shelter — which is currently without a manager — can be challenging.
She said persons are expected to fend for themselves inside the partly unkempt facility furnished with a scruffy sofa, an empty freezer, and piles of heavy duty garbage bags and boxes filled with shelter residents’ personal belongings.
“Living with other people is rough. You have some rude and disrespectful ones … I don’t like it,” said Anna, who now longs to move on from this eight-months-long chapter of her life.
“I have no plans. I don’t know what I am going to do. It’s stressful,” she told BVI News.
2018 hurricane season starts today
In the meantime, the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins today, June 1. And government is yet to fully repair or announce the official emergency shelters that will be used in the event of a disaster.
Doors at the Long Trench facility are still secured with plywood while the windows and the roof appear to need minor repairs.
According to authorities, shelters such as the Long Trench Community Centre will be repaired in time for the ‘peak’ of the season.
The use of * signifies name changes at the request of the source.
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