RIKASH Ramcharan has already papered his brother’s school books and packed his bag in preparation for the opening of the school term tomorrow.
The 17-year-old will take Nigel, 12, to catch a school bus that will transport him to school and will be waiting when he returns home in the afternoon.
The teenager, who lost his parents and another brother in a car crash in July, has taken on the role of both father and mother to his younger sibling and intends to carry out their wishes to support Nigel through his academic education.
“We were always close and knowing that it is the two of us alone now we have to work hard to support one another. We stay at home, and we sleep at home. I sleep in my parents’ room now. We have nothing to be afraid of here,” said Rikash.
On July 29, Nanda Ramcharan, 36, her husband Mahadeo, 48, and their 13-year-old son, Nyron, were returning home in their Honda Civic on the south-bound lane of Uriah Butler Highway, near Endeavour Flyover, Chaguanas, when a dump truck, which was travelling on the northbound lane, lost control after being struck by a Mitsubishi Lancer, crossed the median and slammed into the Ramcharans’ car.
Nanda, Mahadeo and Nyron were killed almost instantly. The drivers of the two other vehicles were treated for minor injuries.
The driver of the Lancer, a 21-year-old man, of Thompson Road, Palmiste, Chaguanas, was detained by police for several days but subsequently released pending further investigations.
Nyron suffered from renal failure and in 2010 his mother donated one of her kidneys to save his life. Nyron became the country’s youngest kidney transplant recipient, as he was only nine at the time of the surgery.
Rikash and Nigel spoke to the Express yesterday, minutes after returning home from a nearby market where they sold 500 ears of corn, which came from their backyard garden.
“I got up at around four o’clock this morning and I woke up Nigel. We picked the corn because the crop was ready. Next week we will do the same thing because corn grows fast. When the corn crop finishes I am thinking of planting pumpkin, plantains, or pineapples — long-term crops which do not take so much attention,” said Rikash.
He said an aunt and a neighbour bought some school books and supplies and some were provided by the constituency office of their Member of Parliament, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
“They got the books and stuff and it was the first time I papered the books by myself. I used to help Mommy do that. I would paper (cover them) and she would stick them,” said the older brother.
He said in addition to the planting, he intends to return to school to pursue advanced level studies.
“Mommy wanted to me to have a higher education so I am going to do it,” said the teenager.
Rikash said other relatives and neighbours assist them almost every day in providing meals and ensuring that they are doing well.
He said a counsellor with the Ministry of the People and Social Development has been in regular contact with them.
“Every night before I go to sleep I think about my mother, father and brother. I think about what we will be doing together if they were here. My mother would make a heavy sound when she was sleeping, and we miss that. We miss harassing our brother. We miss everything, even the car. My father wanted us to do well at school. If we did not want to go to school he would take us into the garden and that was hard work whole day. So he made us learn that going to school was easier,” said the older brother.
Nigel said he was looking forward to attending Barrackpore East Secondary School on Tuesday.
“Yes, I will be thinking of them that day,” he whispered.