Disabled man, 66, is living off the kindness of others

A small, rat-infested, one-bedroom addition with stone as a floor has been Philip Lightbourne’s refuge for over a year.

The 66-year-old disabled man, who walks with a cane, said his Kemp Road living quarters, which has no electricity and no running water, is the best he can do for himself.

A single toilet bowl is tucked into a corner of his home, but much of the small room is taken up by a dusty mattress and plastic bottles that he uses to transfer water from a nearby pump.

Lightbourne said the rent for the room takes up a large chunk of his disability check from the National Insurance Board (NIB), which amounts to roughly $330 a month.

“I wish for a lot more,” he said.

“The last two or three days, I could hardly manage. Sometimes if I walk from here, I can only reach as far as the corner.

“It comes on like a sudden lick, you know like if something hits you unexpected? That’s how it feels in my leg. That’s why I can’t walk for [long]. If I go a far distance, anything could happen.”

The rough floors of his home exacerbate the pain.

“I use a stick and all that,” he said.

Lightbourne said he cannot even afford Advil to manage his pain at this point.

“They ease it up a little bit, you see,” he said.

“But right now I ain’t have none.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on the Bahamian economy, the struggles of the destitute have been brought to the forefront.

In a press conference on Sunday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis warned Bahamians that difficult times and decisions lie ahead. However, he assured that “nobody will go hungry”.

But Lightbourne says COVID-19 has left him faced with a new wave of hopelessness. He said he has only survived so far because of the kindness of strangers.

Lightbourne was one of the people who Teen Challenge Bahamas Director Eric Fox delivered groceries to yesterday.

“I appreciate it a lot, you know,” he said.

“I really appreciate it.”

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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