Mystery illness strikes female students of Santa Rosa Secondary
…teachers seek religious intervention
Seven months after teachers of the Santa Rosa Secondary School reported that students were falling ill from a mysterious illness, a Schools’ Welfare Officer has finally been sent to the area.
Yesterday, Kaieteur News met with three of the 57 students, who had fallen ill over the past seven months.
One of the students, Cleopatra Atkinson, 16, said that she began to feel upset some time ago, and then she felt as if the ground was pulling her under.
According to her, she cannot remember anything that occurred after then.
It was the first time in the four years she has been attending the school that such an incident has occurred.
Thirteen-year-old Sarah De Souza, told this newspaper that she began feeling nauseated and developed a serious headache when her attack came. She said that she did not remember anything that occurred after then.
Fiona Abraham, another victim of these strange attacks, said that she was heading downstairs when she felt a blow to the pit of her stomach. She recalled nothing else.
Over the weekend they were all brought to the city at the expense of the parents and relatives to seek the help of Rev Montrose, a Catholic priest stationed in Berbice.
Speaking with Kaieteur News yesterday, Murphy DeSouza, one of the teachers at the Secondary School who accompanied the students, said that the attacks occur at various hours and there is little that could be done to control the students.
He said that the students constantly complained of head and abdominal pains.
“They just freak out and they do not know what they are doing; they just scream, pull out their hair and it would last for about two to three hours,” he said.
De Souza said that after the spell the students would not know what had occurred.
“There is some supernatural force because no matter what the people tried on them nothing worked…they keeping prayers, crusades and nothing worked.”
He added that the students had not been eating for a number of days now but after prayers on Saturday they began eating.
“They were able to catch back themselves…they were able to vomit out certain things… This is not the first time for the past seven months that this happened.”
The teacher said that in a letter to the Ministry, he suggested that the institution be closed and cleaned.
“What I am peeved about is that the Ministry said that we still need to continue with the end of term exams…but we cannot keep an examination when students are falling ill…It takes about four boys to hold them down when this thing attacks them. It only attacking the female students.”
The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs provided transportation for students and their parents.
When the students were being transported to the city, the Parika Speedboat Service donated the transportation money for the city, having seen the students’ condition.