Mother and son living in washroom of recreation ground

Ingrid Applewhite, 30, and her son, Joshua, 12, have been living in the female washroom at the recreation ground at Pinto Road, Arima. Applewhite began living in the washroom behind the stands at the savannah four months ago after she lost her job at a restaurant and could no longer pay her rent.

“The restaurant closed for health reasons and they sent us home and never called us back. We were staying by relatives but that did not work out either,” she said.

Joshua, who has been attending Arima Boys’ Government Primary School, has not been to school for almost two years. Applewhite and Joshua sleep in one of the bathing stalls in the stands at nights and during the day wander around the savannah.

“I spread half a sheet on the floor and me and Joshua cover with the other half,” she said. She says she cleans the stall daily but when there are sporting events it becomes dirty again.

Sometimes it smells really bad of urine. I wash it with disinfectant,” she said. Two Wednesdays ago, Applewhite spent her 30th birthday in the savannah. “We sat under a mango tree in the savannah and watched people play cricket and fly kites.”

When she moved to the savannah she brought her stove and gas tank and some other belongings.

People stole everything from me”

“People stole everything. All I have is a plastic bag with four pants and three jerseys for my son and two skirts and two jerseys for me,” she explained. Applewhite says she asks people for food. “I would go to people I know from Pinto and explain the situation and ask them to help out with food. Sometimes they give us meat which I don’t eat so I give it to Joshua and remain hungry.”

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