Beacon of the day | Rape survivor cares for bedridden neighbours without pay

Tanesha Hall, who has been volunteering as a caregiver for two bedridden neighbours in Clarendon, said her childhood was tumultuous.

“Mi struggle a lot,” she declared, adding that she was raped at 15 years old.

She suffered another blow four years ago when her brother, Fabian Hall, who grew up with her, was stabbed and killed in Clarendon.

She told The Beacon that she and her brother are the only children for their mother, who left them in Clarendon when they were very young and relocated to Portmore in St. Catherine.

The siblings, stalked by instability, ended up being tossed between two parishes.

Hall recalled that, at one point, her mother moved her, along with her brother, after hearing about the deplorable condition under which they were living in Clarendon. Not long after that, the two children were sent back to Clarendon.

The situation affected their schooling.

Hall attended Mineral Heights Primary School and John Austin All Age in Clarendon, as well as Braeton Primary School in St. Catherine. Regarding secondary school, she went to Greater Portmore High in St. Catherine, and Central High in Clarendon.

Hall, now unemployed and semi-literate, said she was still enrolled at Central High School when she was raped by a man much older than her.

“Mi feel very bad; mi feel seh rapists fi hang,” Hall said, adding that she has not received professional counselling since the incident.

She is now a 31-year-old mother of four children – all of whom have different fathers.

Hall stated that, over the years, she struggled to find true love – platonic and otherwise.

“My family don’t deal with mi good,” she noted.

Hall however expressed gratitude to her paternal grandmother, known as Merl, who gave her a house to live at Sevens Heights in May Pen, Clarendon.

The house is now leaky and is in need of repair.

Hall told The Beacon that, when she moved into the house nearly five years ago, she met two neighbours who, at the time, had just relocated to the area.

They are 96-year-old Rubina Brown and her 38-year-old grandson Kevin Robinson – both bedridden.

Robinson explained that his grandmother was the one caring for him following an incident 22 years ago that left him physically challenged.

He said he was struck by bullets when gunmen fired indiscriminately in a Kingston community where he had gone to visit friends. He, at the time, was living with relatives in Kingston. However, he is a Clarendon native.

When his grandmother became bedridden, Robinson struggled to wash and cook.

He did those duties at his bedside, and so the waste water often ended up beneath the bed and created a foul odour in the house.

Robinson recalled that some visitors usually leave the premises and spread the word that there is a stench inside the house.

“People used to pass bad remarks because they used to come over here and see how over here was dirty. They used to go away and talk how over here stink or whatsoever,” he added.

The situation prompted Hall, a few years ago, to start washing, cooking and cleaning the house. She doesn’t charge a cent.

Robinson said: “She (Hall) wasn’t charging. One of my grandmother’s grand-daughter lately start to send her a little thing when she can. But, long before that, she was doing it without getting anything.”

Robinson added that, even when the clothes are soiled by excrement, Hall washes them happily with her bare hands despite being told to use gloves.

“Nuh matter how the situation stay, she nuh scorn the clothes dem; she use her bare hands and wash them; she not using any gloves,” Robinson told The Beacon.

He added: “She (Hall) has been a great source of help for me – a great source. She has been real loving and caring to my granny – very tender, and she show nuff love and care and respect for her. She is the one who came and made a whole lot of difference in our lives.”

Hall said she could not live in comfort knowing that her neighbours were not happy.

She further stated that Robinson and his grandmother are now like her biological relatives.

They, above all things, show her true love.

Hall, in the meantime, encourages people to never lose hope.

“Never give up,” she further advised. “Hold up your head no matter what the situation is, because God will carry you through.”

By Horace Mills, Journalist


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