They had moved there after they were evicted from a house because they were unable to pay their rent.
The man had lost his job because of ill-health and his girlfriend was, and is still, unemployed.
The family now has three children. They are still living in the community bath and need our help. (Read story: Still Living in a Bath)
For those of you who might not be familiar with a community bath, before the days when every household in St. Vincent could afford (had) pipe-born water on its property, the government catered for the economically disadvantaged by placing public taps and public baths in some communities.
The building in question is quite small, about 8’x16’ (244cm X488cm). When it was a community bath, it was divided halfway along the length for male and female sections. Each section was further sub-divided into two stalls.
The walls that separated the stalls have been knocked out and there are no windows in the building that the family now calls home.
In one of the sections, the family has two chairs, a stove (both old and donated second-hand) and some other basic cooking utensils.
The other area (approx 8’X8’/244cmx244cm) functions as sleeping quarters for the family of five.
Grantley “Archie” Malcolm, 45, is the man of the house. His health has improved and he now has temporary employment.
He however said that the money is only enough to buy food, pay for the water and send his oldest child, 7, to school.
When I visited for an interview earlier this week, Malcolm had told me that he would begin to buy his kid’s book at the end of the week.
I visited him on Saturday and he had already bought five of the book.
His son seems to be very promising academically but he has to contend with being teased at school. He says that his schoolmates tell him that he is “ugly” (which is far from the truth) and that he lives in an old house.
Malcolm has struck me as a person who is genuinely trying. Among the things that I admire about him is the fact that he has not abandoned his children, as many men in similar or even better off positions are wont to do.
I am convinced that together we can make a difference. I have not thought through this and I am not sure how we can make that difference. I am a student but in August, I will be a paid employee at a media house in SVG. I am pledging 25% of the monies I earn to improving the lives of this household.
What can you donate?