AFTER nine months of sleeping on benches at the San Fernando General Hospital, 68-year-old pensioner Chandrabhosh Maharaj now has a place to call home. The elderly man was moved to tears today after a San Juan family agreed to offer him shelter at their home.
Tonight Maharaj will move into the house where he was offered a room.
“It is the best news I have heard in a long while. I don’t know how I can ever repay you. I am so thankful. I can’t believe this is happening. God bless you, God bless you, God bless you,” he said wiping his tears as he spoke to the family on a phone at Newsday's San Fernando office today.
Maharaj was left homeless after his house at California, near Couva, was destroyed by fire almost six years ago. The former sno cone vendor has also slept on the streets of San Fernando, Princes Town, Couva and Port of Spain until he went to the hospital.
Maharaj has never been able to access his pension so he uses his identification card to travel for free on buses to go to different areas.
After Maharaj’s plight was published in Sunday Newsday, San Juan mother of three, Verniscia Copper, 59, contacted the office. Cooper said the story touched her as she too was once homeless.
“I cried so much after reading this story because I know what is like to end up on the streets and beg. My pores raised when I read what this man was going through, being robbed by other homeless people,” an emotional Cooper told Newsday.
She believes that God is working through her.
“I didn’t even think twice I knew I had to help. I went to the empty room in front our house and said, ‘he will stay here’. We don't have any need for it. It is safe, clean and very comfortable. The room is empty so if people could donate items such as a bed, a television, and more for him that would be a great help. Mr Maharaj can stay here until better can be done.”
Cooper continued, “No human being should ever have to go through this. No one deserves this. I am just happy we can open our doors to help out someone even though he is a complete stranger. God is guiding me.”
Other good Samaritans telephoned Newsday promising to help Maharaj. Secretary of the Port Retirees Association Jemma Legall said she was touched by his story and she and members are making plans to donate money to him.
Another caller who wished to remain anonymous said she is leading a team to collect money from the different branches of the establishment where she works to assist the pensioner.
The woman said it is disappointing to see that “we don’t have systems in place to immediately intervene and help people in these types of situations.”
Eric Baldeo said he did not have much to offer but he would be donating $50. “I am sorry, I wish I had more to spare, I really would have given more. But if more people come forward and give him $50 it can go a long way for him. Please, I am asking more people to come forward and hello,” Baldeo said.
Businessman Raj Ramchala has also come forward to offer the pensioner a room to stay near his establishment in Princes Town.
Father of three Sunil Lalchan, 38, said he would be holding back on supplies for his household just to help Maharaj.
“I want everyone to know how extremely grateful I am. I really didn’t even think there were much good people in this world with such kind hearts. You all are my angels and I thank you so much. May God bless you all,” was Maharaj’s message to everyone.