Since November 4, Penal taxi driver Ramsaran Dhanraj, 50, has been sleeping under a sheet of galvanize in the burnt-out shell of what was once his home.
His wife Indra Ramkissoon, 55, is staying with relatives.
The couple, who have lived at the house at Sou Sou Lands, Penal Rock Road, for the last ten years, said they have been to many businesses seeking help to rebuild their home but have turned away.
Staff at a grocery in Penal, they said, offered them $20, saying that was all they had to spare.
“We are trying to stay positive and keep calm," said Ramkissoon, "but it breaks my heart every day knowing that we are now homeless just like that and now we must start from scratch. We have nothing except for the clothes we have on, nothing.
"We are not beggars. My husband has been working hard all his life. We bought this land and built a life here. We bought all the appliances cash that were burnt in the fire. We had everything we needed right here, But now it is all gone.”
The couple were not at home when the fire started in the wooden and concrete house at 6pm that day. Dhanraj was getting a haircut at a nearby barber and his wife was visiting relatives in Penal.
Dhanraj’s taxi was parked at the front of the house, and he lost that too..
“When I was told that my house was on fire, I left quickly," he said, "thinking I could stop the fire – but it was too late. My house was gone.
"I cried like a baby because not only my house was gone, but my car as well. My bread and butter.”
So he is not only homeless but jobless.
"You hear people talking about how hard things are after their house was destroyed by fire, but is only when it happens to you then you begin to understand how they are feeling. I feel so empty right now.
"We don’t have a choice...we are begging, please, is there anyone out there that can help my wife and I rebuild a house? Please help us, please."
The couple lost all their appliances, furniture and clothing.
“We have also been to the Penal Regional Corporation and National Self Help Commission and officials there have taken our information and promised to get in touch with us,” said Dhanraj
Fire officials have not yet determined the cause of the fire. Investigations are continuing.
Anyone wishing to help the couple can call them at 355-0525 or 389-2789.