Voices from the Margins – Romeo

Romeo preparing to build a concrete roof which protects better against further hurricanes
My house was totally destroyed. OK, the Red Cross and Samaritan Purse come, but I only got a little bit of wood from them. So I just started doing my own thing. The problem is that everything goes to Antigua first; so if I want get materials for my house I have to spend about *EC$240 dollars to go Antigua and back. You see, our seaport can't exchange directly with other islands…St Thomas, Puerto Rico, Montserrat. It puts a lot of strain on us." *(approximately £70)
Romeo working on his roof

I had stopped at one particular ruin of a home as Romeo walked towards me on his way to visit a friend. This house still had clothes in the wardrobe, and timber and metal strewn across the familiar contents of any home; the bed covered in the recognisable NGO blue tarpaulin. On the floor was a colourful plastic dolls house. I wondered where this family was now and whether they had plans to return. On the same street Romeo pointed out his own small dwelling with the all too common lack of roof. A builder, amongst other skills, he explained the benefits of a concrete roof against the corrugated metal roofs adorning many buildings. Like many Barbudans he was awaiting direction from the council about his application for a new roof. The Council in turn held up by the purse string holders, the Antiguan government. In frustration and with resolve he was painstakingly building a new home from scratch in between rain and his other work that enabled him to purchase materials from neighbouring Antigua.