Forty-eight-year-old Carol Parham and her three grandchildren were handed the keys to a new house this morning, after living in a not-so-great condition for some time. In three days, the property on Fuller’s Alley was filled, and construction began for what the family can now call home. News Five’s Duane Moody and intern Maria-Isabel Reneau attended the handing over ceremony earlier today where final touches were being done at the Parham residence.
For many years, this property in Fullers Alley has been home to Carol Parham and her family; she’s the guardian for her three grandchildren who also occupy the residence. But the house where Parham had been living was in a deplorable condition. In early August, the family was exposed to the elements by Hurricane Earl, as the tarp that was used as the roof of the wooden structure was destroyed. The house was literally floating in the swamp. Well today, a collaborative effort between three organizations saw the keys to a brand new house handed over to Parham, just in time for the New Year.
Deborah Sewell, Managing Director, Love Foundation
“I was contacted by B.E.L. asking me if I had a family who I thought would be deserving of a home, because they wanted to donate a home to a family. So I immediately said that yes I did and I sent pictures of the home and a bio on the family to B.E.L. and they went through the process of looking at all the other people that had applied and they found this family to be most deserving of the home. We got a donation from B.E.L., but it was not enough to cover an entire home and everything else so we had to look at others to see where we can pool the other resources.”
The National Emergency Management Organization came onboard with the project and donated one of its houses. The monetary donation from Belize Electricity Limited was in turn used to furnish the one bedroom elevated wooden structure with household items and other amenities.
Mark Neal, MN Contractor for NEMO
“We do a vetting when the hurricane comes and right after that we go around and see what size house, how much people live inside, how it affects them and how fast we can get them in the house. This building is a fourteen by sixteen; it is a one-bedroom. Normally it has space for a bathroom and also slight kitchen system inside of it with the hall and everything. We have been doing this for the last three days making this magic, pulling it off because these people so needed this house so we tried to get them in for the holiday, which we pulled off by magic, cause we built this house within a week; normally it takes two weeks. So along with myself and the building specialist here, Mister Perez, we tried to pull this off. In fact, last night we pulled an all-nighter just trying to get this magic done.”
The forty-eight-year-old grandmother, who suffers from arthritis, mustered up the energy and strength to wholeheartedly accept her new house.
Carol Parham, Homeowner
“I fell so excited. I never believed I mi wah get wah home from nobody. But first of all, thanks to the good lord.”
“We understand that you weren’t living in a really good condition and when Earl came, it really did damage to your home. Talk to us about that.”
“Well when I came back home here, the house from here was flat on the ground. It was flat on the ground.”
“How many of you guys live here?”
“Dah mi me and my sister and her children dehn.”
“So now five of you guys will live in this house?”
“This one yah? This one yah wah be me and mi grandchildren dehn, mi three grandchildren.”
Reporting for News Five, I’m Maria-Isabel Reneau.