FIGHTING battles and struggling to care for her three young children, an unemployed single mother said at times she wishes death on herself, but for the sake of her children 42-year-old Nicole Boyo has chosen to live and give them “decent and normal” lives.
Boyo said she has been experiencing disaster after disaster since 2015 and now she is physically and mentally drained. The latest is a notice to vacate an apartment at Golconda, San Fernando before Christmas.
“I don’t know what we are going to do. We need a place to stay. I feel like a failure. At the end of the day, parents are supposed to provide basic things for their children like food, clothing and shelter. I failed my children. Sometimes I feel as though I can close my eyes and die.”
Holding a pair of worn out football boots and on the brink of tears, Boyo said: “My 11-year-old son is begging me to buy him a pair of boots. He loves football and plays for his primary school. I don’t have any money to buy it. My 15-year-old son was in a car accident last week and my daughter, 13, is slipping in her school grades.”
Boyo is a mother of six, three of whom are adults living elsewhere.
Major problems began in 2015 when the house she was living in at New Grant collapsed because of landslips. It was not her land and she had to leave. She and her children lost their household items but retrieved an old fridge and stove from the debris. At the time she worked as a dispatcher at a supermarket.
She and the father of her three young children are separated.
In trying to make both ends meet, she worked a second job as a nurse trainee and received a stipend.
Having to work long hours meant the children were unsupervised and she could not afford a babysitter.
“I was not getting financial help and I had to work Sunday to Sunday, but I was holding on. I was begging for help, so I took the matter to court. During that time, I had to use all my sick leave because I was not allowed time off to attend court hearings. On the third year of training, I wasn't allowed to continue because I was absent too much.”
The court ordered that the children get maintenance, but payments are tardy. Problems increased when a warrant was issued, and a family rift widened. The children’s father was awarded full custody, but this decision was reversed a few weeks ago.
“For eight months I went through a deep depression because my children were not with me. I want a place to stay so my children don’t have to be moving up and down. I am fed up of this. Bill collectors on my back for $1,000 and are threatening to put me in court.”
Apart from a chair set and tv, which she is still owing a company for, the apartment had the old retrieved fridge and stove which malfunctions.
With no money and no place to call her own, Boyo said she wants help for a home.
“I already spoke to my previous bosses and I am looking forward to returning to work. But I must move out before Christmas. Once I get a place, I will pay my bills and pay off my debts. I am a hardworking mother.”
The Health Ministry’s website encourages people to contact its suicide hotline 650- 5270 if they are hurting and overwhelmed.