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Overland family in new house

Overland family in new house


THE RESPONSIBILITY of feeding and caring for four grandchildren 13 years and under can really be a Herculean task, especially in an instance where both guardians are over the age of 70.

This is the challenge Vetoreen, 72, and Alban DaSouza of Overland, 73, have been facing for the past two years.{{more}}

The elderly couple was left with very little choice but to assume the responsibility for their grandchildren after learning of the brutal August 17, 2003, slaying of their daughter Pamela.

Pamela, was stabbed to death in front of her children at their home in St. Michael, Barbados.

Ironically, it the presence of the surviving offspring of their daughter, which provides some sense of solace and closeness to the grieving parents.

While voluntarily accepting the role of guardian to the four children could have been a burden, in a strange way, this might have been a blessing in disguise.

For a number of years, Vetoreen and Alban lived in a tiny wooden, one-room house they called home. Crammed in this building with four children, the couple had yearned for the day when they could have a decent home, not necessarily luxurious, but with just a bit more space.

A joint effort between SEARCHLIGHT and the Nation Newspaper aroused overwhelming regional and international response, which prompted a number of good Samaritans to come forward to address the plight of this family.

Among these good Samaritans were Philip and Michelle Edwards and David and Christine Clarke of Living Room Ministries, a cell-based Christian organisation in Barbados. They linked with Vincentian businessman Oswald Veira of General & Maritime Agencies Ltd. to oversee funds to build the new, concrete structure for the DaSouzas.

There was an additional EC$25,000 donated by a couple who prefers to remain anonymous.

For the DaSouzas, a dream has come true.

Two months ago Vetoreen and Alban moved into their new three bedroom home, equipped with bathroom and toilet facilities. Their grandchildren, Natasha, 13, Natesha, 11, Courtney, 7, and Chevonna DaSouza, 6, share the new home built for them.

“I feel happy. I want to thank everyone who helped us,” said Vetoreen.

While Vetoreen has expressed delight for the new home she lamented that she and her husband find it challenging supporting them.

Vetoreen is unemployed, while Alban does a bit of farming of seasonal crops which are sometimes affected by bad weather. The elderly couple noted that they are really finding times hard caring for the four children.

Besides the little that the couple receive from the crops, they are given a EC$250 allowance from the government at the end of each month to assist with the children.

“The finance is rough but I’m asking God to prepare for us,” said Vetoreen.

“We have some bananas and all break down in the dry weather. Those that I plant just start to shoot up,” said Alban.

The DaSouzas are hoping that God will grant them one more wish – provide the home with a television.

“We need a TV so the children won’t have to go to the neighbour,” said Vetoreen.