Residents of Petit Bordel contemplate their future
RESIDENTS OF the volcano hazard zones affected by the eruptions will be required to show resilience in the coming months, as many persons start from scratch, or look for new forms of employment.
Petit Bordel is slowly beginning to stir once again after being knocked by heavy ash fall that accumulated over the explosions from La Soufrière that began on April 9.
Individuals had to move out from the area to avoid the effects of the eruptions, and are, since the last explosion on April 22, finally beginning to venture back.
“…I dey fighting how I go make ends meet now. I does tell me wife every morning I don’t know which part to start, to clean…” 78-year-old Petit Bordel resident Carlos Frederick shared last Wednesday, May 26 from the porch of his home.
There is a shed in which he does his work which was full of dust when he returned from the private home where he was staying , “…so I don’t know what go happen,” he said.
Frederick commented that he’s waiting to see if the government will help him to “start back life again.”
“Even the pig pen mash up,” the farmer said, and disclosed that he also lost some of his pigs, as well as sheep and goats.
“It’s terrible, terrible…but God is love. We will make it somehow. Don’t know…we have to watch and see if we go get anything to make a start or living. It’s important to get ah help,” Frederick added.
His crops are dead, he said, “…Oh yes, oh yes, absolutely, because people let go their pigs like me can’t fault for that – even pigs for me too. They destroy them…” Pigs and sheep from Chateaubelair and other places also came over.
“…We hah tannia, we got dasheen, we got dis… and ah nuttin in the ground now, nutting in the ground. So we desperately need help,” the elderly resident said.
When asked what kind of help he needed most, he responded, “little change in me hand”, to buy what he needs to make himself more comfortable to start all over again.
Frederick is not the only farmer who will be suffering for the while.
Delmore Delplesche, a 32-year-old farmer advised that he has lost all of his crops and a few of his animals.
“About a week after the eruption they couldn’t have nothing to eat becah the amount of ash that was on the vegetation…,” he explained.
He too is looking to start over and see what help comes his way.
“…Seeds, and other supplies, farming supplies,” Delplesche responded in answer to what his needs are, “I have to start from scratch now because the land is in a big mess with all the ashes.”
Shop owner, Movis Matthews, who is yet to return to the area to resettle, staying only for a few days at a time, runs the “La Casa” Bar and Grocery with her husband.
They are coping with half of their customers not being in the area anymore, as they choose to stay away because of the copious amounts of volcanic ash.
The shop wasn’t broken into, unlike other properties because persons were keeping a watch on it for her, but she did end up losing a large amount of the supplies she had bought in the week leading up to the first explosive eruption.
“I had bought chicken the Thursday morning just before because the Prime Minister didn’t have the press conference (on the heightened activity of the volcano) until like 12:30,” she recalled.
“…What I usually do, I sell chicken by the portion, so I don’t really turn up the deep freeze. It is always on on ‘cold’…” she stated, and when the Friday morning came, along with the first explosion, she forgot to turn the deepfreeze down.
“…When I came back all the chicken spoil,” Matthews revealed, along with onions, and potatoes. Other things like eggs and cheese she had to give away.
“I don’t know if there’s any provision for small businesses, I haven’t heard anything so, but I would like if there is to get some assistance…” she commented.
Veneshia Harry and her 66-year-old mom Evadnie Edwards, relied on collecting gravel from Richmond which is in the red volcanic hazard zone.
Harry used to work at a bar in Cumberland, but Covid-19 had put a halt to this, which caused her to turn to collecting gravel full time. But the eruption occurred, and now they can’t go back to Richmond because around there “everything is disrupted”, she said.
Commenting on how they feel when they look to the future, she reasoned that they have to keep looking forward to the best, but “…there would take a long while before we get to really seeing some positive stuff…” Further, hanging over their heads is a volcano that remains in a state of unrest. While Harry believes it is finished with its explosions, others do not. Matthews commented that while persons say that Soufrière has always been steaming, “it wasn’t visible like that unless you go to Soufrière then you gonna see it… the little patches of steam coming up.”
“…But now you standing on the top of the hill (in Petit Bordel) and you see all the steam, so to me you can’t tell me that it will not blow again, it’s like, it’s a fear like, there’s still a fear,” he added.
“…Becah I know the old grandmother told us, all them ting there from 1902, and I read from that so I knew it would blow; and it will blow again. If it blow again, it more heavier this time…” Frederick predicted.