By Romila Boodram
Richard Moshetee is the perfect example of the phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
Two and a half years ago, a happy and healthy Moshetee called “Ricky” lost his right leg to diabetes having been diagnosed with it 10 years earlier.
For the father of three, this was a significant change in not only his life but his family’s as well, since he was the sole breadwinner in the home.
This new life would mean that the 40-year-old Anna Regina, Essequibo resident could no longer do carpentry to support his family and see his boys through school.
Everything happened so suddenly that Moshetee had no time to think about a backup plan—the clock was ticking and as much as he wanted to work and save a little cash for the future, he was unable to do so, because more time could have cost him his life.
With a heavy heart, he had his right leg (just above his knee) amputated at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
As Moshetee was beginning to cope with his new life, his wife walked out on him and his three children, making things even harder for him. One day as he was going to prepare food for his kids, he realized that there was nothing to cook.
Determined to put something on the table before they came home from school, Moshetee had to make a tough decision, but he kept reminding himself it was for the sake of his children. He picked up his crutches and went out to beg.
Having spent two years on the streets, Moshetee only recently decided to quit because his children are getting older, and as much as they appreciate what he has done for them, they are embarrassed at what he does for a living.
“About a month ago, I was sitting at home and I had nothing to do, so I picked up my chisel and hammer and I started to carve out a truck,” Moshetee recalled, while adding that his creation that day has changed his life.
He said that people from all over the country have since made contact with him to order the wooden toys he makes, for their children, including trucks and tractors with trailers.
“I didn’t expect to get this response. People like it, but the problem I have is to deliver, because of how far I am living,” Moshetee said.
To make the toys, he would purchase wood and carve out the various designs. The wheels are made from spindles—it usually takes about a week to make two of his products which are being sold for about $6,000 depending on the size.
“I used to make these toys for myself as a little boy, but not as good as they are now… and then I stopped, but now, they support me and my children,” Moshetee pointed out, while adding that it was only a month ago that he was determined to quit begging on the streets.
“One day I went to the market to beg and I was too tired to walk back home, so I called one of my sons to pick me up. He came, but he stopped a distance away, and I had to walk over and meet him, because he didn’t want people to see us,” Moshetee reflected.
He said that he is both the mother and father of his children, Ramesh, 13; Mark, 15; and Munesh, 17.
“When I used to beg, I would clean the house, cook, wash and then go out in the streets and would come home before the boys come back. With the money, I used to buy things to cook and take care of my children,” he said.
Moshetee is hoping that with his new vocation, life for him and his children will change for the better. Anyone desirous of purchasing his toys can contact him on 621-8612.
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