Times of Oman
Nov 29, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 05:55 AM GMT
One breadwinner, 19 dependents
December 9, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Muscat: At a time when people are seeking salary raises and private sector privileges, there are a number of families in the Sultanate who simply struggle to survive each day. For some families, abject poverty prevents them from finding solutions to those problems.

These are not merely a few individuals in a family without a house, but 20 people who do not have a house to meet their basic needs. Their children do not know the meaning of childhood, fathers and mothers have not had the taste of basic comforts and happiness, and a sick aunt remains in her bed waiting for death, instead of treatment. The cold and dark are their usual guests, just as the burning summer was a menace for them earlier in the year.

Consoling words
Consoling words have seldom helped the poor get over their suffering. They need material help and concrete solutions. The father, who works with the Ministry of Defence, is the only employed member of this family.

"My salary is only RO400," said the father. He added that he has to take care of 20 people, all members  of his family, including himself. Yet, this is not the only tragedy the father faces.
"I am supposed to rely on my eldest son, as I am getting older, but destiny does not always satisfy us," said the head of the family.

His eldest son is almost handicapped, and now he is responsible for two sick members of his family, as his sister is also lying in her bed. The father has also been unable to obtain a job for his eldest daughter, since she must help in the house. The mother, clearly in pain, prepares simple meals and delivers them, walking long distances in an attempt to minimise the father's burdens.

This tragic state of affairs has forced the family to live in a sordid world of their own. The only house they have is a small house walled with old wood and a groaning roof at the corner of a village. The wind lashes open the windows when the cold winter frost and scorching summer heat enters.

The two rooms and small hall cannot take the load of 20 people. They are forced to stand in a queue, waiting for the toilet. This is a normal routine for this family. This family lived around hundreds of tangled electricity wires and is always in fear of an accident, anytime.

During the recent stormy weather conditions, while most of the people were enjoying the rains, this family was waiting in fear of what damage the rains might do to their house. "I lost my only house, which was the only place where I could shelter my family under its roof," said Khamees.

He added that because he did not have enough money for repairing the house after it caught fire, he tried to seek help from some government institutions and charities. "I received RO125 from one of the governmental institutions," he recalled. Fortunately, he could also get some help from ministries. He added that he did not ask any individuals for help, to save his family's dignity and avoid the humiliation, especially since he is a father of 15 children.

"I don't know whose mistake this is! Sometimes, life does not give you several choices. I am about to lose my house, and I am afraid I will lose my life and leave my family with no hope," said the father.

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