No curtains, but contented at Christmas: A family’s joy in shortage 

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By Kurt Campbell

A small-scale Mahaica Creek, East Coast Demerara farmer is trying to put his family in a state of happiness and satisfaction this Christmas despite his difficult circumstances in providing for his wife and four children.

The needs and shortages faced by Balram Tulsiram, 56, and his wife Yashwattie Persaud, 47, are real, large and growing. Their situation is compounded with two of the younger boys, ages 8 and 2, being unable to walk and feed themselves. The other two children are 11 and 13.

The family has managed to subsist in the widely distributed and distant village of Little Biaboo, Mahaica Creek by pooling their limited resources with the generous contributions from individuals and organisations.

This year presented its own unique challenges with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and Christmas for this family will be spent without curtains and many of the other domestic highlights of the season.

The triumph in what could have been an otherwise sad story is that Christmas will not pass this family amid feelings of self-pity, but it will be spent in contentment.

Balram Tulsiram, 56, and his wife Yashwattie Persaud, 47 [Photo: News Room/December 19, 2020]
Tulsiram lived in the area for decades and has demonstrated his self-effacement. He said Christmas day will be spent doing his regular farming but the family intends to also cook a “nice meal” and enjoy the company of each other.

“What we get can’t do to buy everything we need but what we get we will be content with that,” Tulsiram told the News Room.

The Child Care and Protection Agency (CC&PA) had received a report earlier this year that the mother, Yashwattie had abandoned her parental responsibility and left the home for several months.

While she has now returned and recommitted herself to the family, Tulsiram was forced to care for the children, two with special needs due to their physical disabilities, while at the same time attending to his farming activities.

He had become both the caretaker and breadwinner.

Another Section of the house where the family of 6 lives [Photo: News Room/December 19, 2020]
Now with Yashwattie back at home, she intends to support her husband with the children while he goes out to work the farmlands. Yashwattie said she is usually tasked with homeschooling the two differently abled boys while carrying out the usual chores of a housewife.

The CC&PA visited the one flat concrete structure where the family dwells amid a lack of furnishings.

The agency immediately sprang into action to provide relief for the family and on Saturday returned with representatives from E – Networks – Guyana’s leading provider of television, internet, entertainment, ICT, and media services, to hand over clothing, food items and cash to the family.

The cash donation from E – Networks was also accompanied by a donation of personal items bought for the family by the staff of E – Networks.  Tulsiram was very thankful for the assistance and again spoke of his contentment. “Whatsoever we get we gon content with that.”

L-R: Balram Tulsiram, Ashley John of E – Networks and Senior Probation Officer Luella Chichester [Photo: News Room/December 19, 2020]
Both Tulsiram and his wife were overjoyed by the assistance.

The CC&PA is hoping to get other families on board, not only to help this family at Christmas but many other families facing similar difficult circumstances.

Senior Probation Officer, Luella Chichester, who was present during Saturday’s visit said the CC&PA is looking to partner with individuals and businesses to assist families in need.

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