I was told After the devastating hurricane ‘David’, she was ill and walked three miles from Roseau to the village where we lived. She carried on her head, a bag of goodies which was given after the hurricane. The goodies included; rice, sugar, flour and milk. There were lots of huge rocks on the way. She was very week, so some men carried her to see her two children. Afterwards she was transported back to the Queens Margaret Hospital, because she was very ill. A few days after, she was pronounced dead.
It’s tough growing up without parents.
I was only a six month old baby. My mother Agnes, passed away. I had no idea what she looked like.
There were many arguments of who should raise me. My dad took me for a while, but it was rough on him. As a single parent, he needed to provide my basic needs. So he had to go to work. My grand-aunt was responsible. Then she found it was too much for her, since she had three of her own and a sick husband.
Another arrangement was made. My Cousin was now in charge. It was then final. They became my step parent. In that household lived my mother’s sister, Betty and cousins, young and old. They took care of me, no doubt. It was like ‘Cinderella and the ugly sisters’. I could not go anywhere. My only friends were my dogs and my classmates when I went to school.
Dogs are really mans best friend. They were my comforters in times of sadness and loneliness. I cooked my dog’s meals and bathed them. I enjoyed doing it. If your child don’t have a dog, now is the time to get them one. They are understanding, loving, kind. They lift your spirits. The only thing is, They don’t speak our language.
There was my little cousin, Bert. He made me feel terrible. At times when I wanted to watch a little television, he would not let me. He would say, “Go tell your mother and father buy you a TV, so you can change the channel”. I was thirteen years of age. He was only six. If he hits me and I hit him back, his mother, my guardian would give me more licks. I would be the one to do most of the house-work and messages. Whether I had school assignments or not.
There was one time I was almost raped, by my older cousin, Don. No one knew about this. I kept it a secret. It happened Like this:
I just took a shower and on my way to get dressed. Then suddenly he came to the room. Thank God I had already dressed. He told me to come. “What for” I told him. He said “just come, I want to show you something”. Then he remove his penis from his pants. I started running out of the room. He blocked me. Then ran under the bed. After a while he caught me and started trying to remove my panties. God really made me strong. I am thanking him for that every day. I got strength from nowhere and escaped. I would have been a victim of rape. Unacceptable! I ran outside and ever since, I stayed where people was around. I was so terrified he would try again. I didn’t tell anyone because they would have said that I was making up stories.
A year later, I was sent to London at my aunt Aphne’s on summer vacation. I liked it there. It was still cold, but I had fun. I ended up going to school,which was wonderful. Everywhere I go seems to be the same story. It seems people only like me as a slave.
My aunt Aphne wanted me to do more house work than school work. She had a son. His name was Benn. I would take him to school in the morning, and pick him up in the noon time, while she sat work. School was going fine for me. I was like the smartest girl in my class. Everyone needed my help.
Then suddenly out of the blue,aunt Aphne tells me that she’s sending me home. I ask her why. She told me she don’t have enough space. I began to cry. I told her I’ll sleep on the floor. It was a two bedroom apartment. She told me she would send for me again, when she got a bigger home. Ridiculous! Don’t you think? After all I was already in London. Well, she did send me back. Guess what else. She told my guardians I was rude and lazy.
In the beautiful Island of Dominica, better known as sunshine island, I went to high school. St,Martin’s.
I struggled once again. Then, A bit of luck!
During my fourth year, something happened. My two classmates, also community mates, bought one scratch card each. It was a lottery game. They only cost one dollar.
Everyone scratched their card, except me. They were not very lucky. I was not interested so I didn’t scratch mine. My mate then took it from me and scratched it. She said ” Coren you win, you win!” I couldn’t believe it until I saw it myself. Seeing is believing. Then I told them that I was not bringing it to my guardians, because I won’t get anything from it. Besides, they wouldn’t believe me. So I played a game. I ask Pato to let her brother cash it in and give me $100. to bring to them as a test. I wanted to see their reaction. It was my grand-aunt Betty who was home when. I said, “Aunt Betty I win $100. wee! She asked “where’s the scratch?” I told her I let a friend cash it for me” then I showed her the money. Guess what happened. She did not believe me. She began saying very negative remarks like, my mates brought me to do prostitution and so on.
After all this drama. It was an excuse to throw me out. I was told to go live with my great grand mother from Martinique. I carried my few clothes they left me, since they took all the stylish and new ones away. A few weeks later, My grandma had to return to Martinique. I had to go to my godmother Deanne. After two months, I could not stay there. It was difficult. Part of the house was a Pub. There were guys all over the place. Definitely not a home for a teen. There I was almost raped, again. This time by three guys. Thanks be to God. He gave me strength to fight again. I was seventeen. I shared the $600. that I won from the lottery. Gave my mates $50. each. I took the balance and I bought school books and shoes.
I was promoted to fifth form, where I had to do my final exams. I worked as hard as I could. After all this struggle and insufficient support, I graduated from St, Martin School. My school was very generous. They were the ones who paid for my exams. I had eight of them to be paid for. My dad could only pay one subject. I did well in my exams. I passed eight subjects and was graduated.
This was my story from a six months old baby to an eighteen year old adult.