Bedbugs take over family’s home

April 25, 2022
A frustrated Paula Darlington hopes to fix her home so that the State will deem it suitable for her children to return.
A frustrated Paula Darlington hopes to fix her home so that the State will deem it suitable for her children to return.
Paula Darlington showing sections of her compromised roof.
Paula Darlington showing sections of her compromised roof.
A section of the home that is in need of repair.
A section of the home that is in need of repair.
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Standing inside her dwelling in Trench Town, Kingston, Paula Darlington says her house literally feels empty.

That's because the 36-year-old mother of four had to discard most of her furniture after they became infested by bedbugs, or what Jamaicans call 'chink'. The infestation is so bad that three of Darlington's children were placed in State care recently, as the house was deemed unsuitable for them. Her oldest child is 20 and lives on his own.

Bedbugs are small insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. They can enter the home undetected through luggage, clothing, old furniture and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests but tend to live in groups. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards.

"One night inna last year, mi daughter wake up and tell mi that something biting her and when I turn on the light and look is bare chink. None a mi kids dem don't wet bed, so I don't know how that happen. Mi burn the bed and mi and dem was sleeping on the ground for a while but it never look appropriate. So, I moved and went to live with my babyfather with them so they were out of school since this February. The school is next door, so if they were home they would be in school every day," Darlington said.

She said that she is currently unemployed, which has added significantly to her struggles. She said the children's father plays his part but cannot assist at this time.

"His work fizzle down and him stop work. We did a send dem to school and we haffi stop and mi biggest fear was that the Government would take them away and that happen. CDA [Child Protection and Family Services Agency] said I can get back my children but I have to fix up the place and get a job first," Darlington said.

In addition to the lack of furniture, Darlington's home is badly in need of repair. The majority of the window panes are missing and the roof leaks whenever it rains. Her biggest issue, though, are the bedbugs. She removes a sheet from her sofa frame showcasing hundreds of the blood-sucking, wingless insects.

"Everything full a chink and dem big. See dem crawling out there. Mi need little help to fix back the place but most importantly, get rid of the chinks. The two doors on the house mash up bad and whatever little furniture left in the house nuh good. Is like mi haffi go burn everything. Mi really would love if mi could get the house sprayed," she said.

Darlington said that she also needs a job which she hopes will help bring her children back.

"They are in good care at the homes but they are separated. I really want them back. I cried when they were taken away. They are in school and going to church and I am grateful for that, but I need them home. So, if anyone could help mi to fix up back the place and get a job I would be grateful," she said.

Persons wishing to assist Paula Darlington may contact her at 876-802-7970.

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