“He never beat me like me first husband, so I never expect he to burn down de house” – Omdawattie Bisnauth

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…Mohamed’s Enterprise rebuilding domestic violence victim’s home

A worker clearing the area for construction

By Lakhram Bhagirat

Just about two years ago, Omdawattie “Reshma” Bisnauth finally found the courage to leave her husband of over a decade because their relationship was at the stage where she feared for her life.

She would later meet and settle with another man but now, she is faced with another dilemma that requires her to start all over.

On December 31, 2020, Bisnauth lost everything that she owned when her reputed husband set their Lot 42 Puja Dam, Blairmont, West Bank Berbice (WCB) home alight. All she and her three children had were the clothes on their backs.

She was devastated and remains so because the question of why the man that took care of them would commit such an act remains unanswered.

The 42-year-old is now trying to pick up the pieces of her life and is starting with rebuilding their home. She made a public appeal a few days ago and that was answered by Mohamed’s Enterprise – known for their philanthropic work – when they committed to rebuilding their home. Construction on the new structure commenced on Thursday and is expected to be completed shortly.

The Sunday Times recently travelled to the sugar-producing community where it sat down with Bisnauth where she shared her story of growing up without her parents to pledging to be the best parent for her two girls and one boy.

She grew up in Mahaica on the East Coast of Demerara and at a young age, her mother died. Her father would soon be out of their lives, leaving a young Bisnauth and her brother to go live with their aunt.

After some time of living with her aunt, Bisnauth met the father of her three children and they got married. She thought time would get better but life dealt her the short straw when they moved to Bush Lot after getting married.

She endured over a decade of beatings at his hand.

“I leff the first husband because of rum and licks and me does got to do domestic wuk to mine the kids them and so. I leff he and then I went to live in (Abary) Creek with a woman and it was there that I meet this one (my reputed husband) and I tek he,” she said.

Bisnauth and her reputed husband lived in the Abary Creek area for a short while but because of her affinity for the “road” they moved to Blairmont. She explained that her 37-year-old reputed husband hails from the Blairmont community and decided to move there after he too separated from his wife. He is also the father of three children.

“By me grow up a road me nah accustom to live a Creek so I come out here and we start looking for a place to rent. Well, he born and grow in this village. He belongs to here right in this same street (Puja Dam) here and we looking for place to rent and the people say them nah rent the place so me end up and buy the place,” she recounted.

Bisnauth and her reputed husband made the move just about a year ago and since the area is a squatting settlement, they just paid $120,000 for a house. The structure was very small and had just one bedroom with a small hall and kitchen area.

Omdawattie Bisnauth

Her reputed husband worked as a labourer and in his free time he would go fishing.

“Life been good with him because since me tek he me nah does work which in me used to work all the time so since me tek he me stop work. He does find all the thing for the house like groceries and so. Life was alright with he but I don’t know lil misunderstanding we been get and he burn the house down. Me and he does get lil argument like you know. One or two time he give me lil slap but nah like no big beat, one and two slap and thing but he never hit the kids them. On that Old Year’s Day when he pelt the ashtray pon the lil bai,” she explained.

Recounting the events of December 31, 2020, Bisnauth said earlier in the day her husband went to fish and later, he started drinking. He came home and brought a chicken with him and told her to fry it for the children while he continued to consume alcohol.

After some time, he began searching for two DVDs that contained music videos but could not find them.

“Me keep telling he that me nah know where the video deh so me can’t find it and he say how the lil bai got to find it because only he does watch movie all the time. So me keep tell he abeh can’t find it and he say that he want it, ah he one. Say that abedese DVD deh nice and neat and he own dem can’t find.

“So, he tek he ashtray what he been a smoke he cigarette and pelt am pon de child and knock he pon he hand. So, me leff down the chicken and me tell the pickney them say ayo come leh abeh walk out the house and leff this man because me nah go stand up here and see he knock yuh fuh 2 DVD which in that is the first time so me try fuh put one stop in it and when me think me was doing something good not knowing something bad,” she related.

They left the house and went to the neighbour at the back. Bisnauth’s reputed husband was left in the house still quarreling and the neighbour attempted to get him to calm down. Shortly after, they saw smoke emanating from house.

“So, he mek three call for abeh, ‘ayo ah come or ayo nah come’ three time so nobody nah answer him. Next thing I see is the house was on fire. To be honest with you me nah see back he, me sit down at the back there and me nah know who call the Police or the fire reel (firefighters) and when the Police them come them call me from the back there and me come ah front and tell them what happened.”

He escaped and was never seen again.

Rebuilding

Bisnauth lost everything in the fire and now she is in the process of rebuilding. She has not been working for over two years but she had to go out and find a job in the middle of a pandemic.

Since the fire she has been actively searching for employment but has been unsuccessful thus far.

Several individuals and organisations have been reaching out to her to give her clothing for her children and some household items.

A representative from Mohamed’s Enterprise presenting Omdawattie Bisnauth with clothes for the children

“Mohamed’s call because them see the story in Guyana Times and they buy some clothes for the children them. Them tell me that them go build back me house and this morning (Thursday) them come and start mek the house. I am really thankful for the help and now me will have to work and get back me things them.”

The house that Mohamed’s Enterprise is building for Bisnauth is bigger than the one that burned down. It measures 18ft x 24ft and will have two bedrooms along with a dining and kitchen area. They are also committed to furnishing the house so that it eases the burden on the single mother.