Hanover mom of 12 ‘back on her feet’
FORTY-FIVE-year-old Hanover mother of 12, Janetta Reid, has been busy securing a future for herself and her children in the past year.
News of the then destitute Reid broke in January last year following the 1997 death of her common-law husband, Neville Scarlett, who was the sole breadwinner for the household.
Scarlett, a fisherman, died after the propeller on a boat chopped him. By the time a fellow fisherman had found him, it was too late. He had lost too much blood.
Up to two years after his death, Reid was struggling to make ends meet at home. She could hardly find food and clothes for herself and the children. And some days, the children could not attend school.
The children range in age from four to 23 years. They are four-year-old Latoya, the six-year-old twins, Paulette and Paul, seven-year-old Odane, nine-year-old Vivienne and Devon.
There are also 11-year-old Anthony, Donovan, 12, Anesha, 14, Venesha 16, Kamesha 20 and 23-year-old Delroy.
Things began to look up, however, after Bermudian community activist and fund-raiser, Raymond Russell, started to offer assistance in 1999. He, along with his long-time friend, Jamaican Valda Palmer, donated clothes and food to the family. They later set up a bank account for the family at the Bank of Nova Scotia in Hanover with $80,000 and encouraged Reid to go public with her story.
She did and the bank account began to increase.
Over the last few months, Russell said the $80,000 has increased to about $100,000.
And Reid has made good use of a portion of the money.
She has started a small grocery shop and an animal farm. She has a number of goats and some cattle.
“Mi feel glad (about the improvements). Mi feel glad to see that they helping mi and the children,” Reid told the Observer, with a smile.
The improvements will continue. Their three-room home is to be extended within the next three to four months.
And Russell has managed to raise an additional $200,000 for the extension work.
“My intent is to help the Reid family so that they will have a better life,” Russell said.
“I want to see that through what we are going to do for them that they become great citizens of Jamaica.”
The extension work will include the addition of a porch, a kitchen and a bathroom and Russell is optimistic that the work will be completed successfully.
“I am sure that, God willing, the project will bring forth fruit and I am sure that we’ll get the necessary funds,” he said.
In the meantime, Reid’s eldest daughter, 20-year-old Kamesha, was happy about the prospect of extending their home. And she, like her mother, was grateful for all the help they have received, particularly from Russell.
“We did have it really hard but then Russell come in and start to help we and then now, we much (more) comfortable,” Kamesha told the Observer.