Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 7th 2016 Contents A11
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Neil Soogrim is known in Felicity as a straightener
and painter who fixes "small bounces" on people s
He is also known to give a man credit when he
cannot afford to pay for the repairs right away.
A father of eight, six of whom live with him at his
Cacandee Road home, he can be seen most days
patiently and carefully straightening and painting
the "small damage" on cars in the narrow garage at
the side of the house.
He depends heavily on "sou sou", the poor man s
bank, for all his financial transactions. Soogrim invests
weekly and when it s time to collect his hand he uses
the money for major projects like building his house.
Soogrim lost his right foot to diabetes last January,
but if you didn t know you would never guess he
had one foot.
He was a construction worker specialising in roofs
until one day a nail pierced the slipper he was wearing
and punctured his foot.
Soogrim did not know he was diabetic and gangrene
set in at the toes, spreading rapidly.
Fearing he would lose his entire leg, he asked the
doctors to remove his foot. He uses crutches some-
times and a walking stick and has learnt to move
around with his heavily bandaged foot.
But he cannot climb anymore to build roofs.
"I have my children to mind, my house to complete.
I have two rooms to finish and I want to build another
No more rooftop climbing but...
Straightener and painter Neil Soogrim, who lost a foot to diabetes, stands with
his crutches next to a vehicle he is working on in his garage at his home in
Never one to sit around and wait on handouts or
give up Neil turned fully to straightening and painting
Most times, he sits on a stool while he works. From
his earnings, he feeds his six children and even man-
ages to share the little he has with those in need
"I give a little money, clothing, to people with
children who are in need," he says.
When he has no cars to fix Soogrim helps his wife
cook and washes his own clothes.
"I use to gamble at one time but I now live for
God and my family," he told the T&T Guardian.
This Christmas, his main concern was making
sure his children had food. "I made sure I put food
in the cupboard and in the fridge."
Soogrim had to go through a baptism of fire before
he got to this point though.
After his injury he was bedridden for two months
and lived with constant pain in his foot.
He says: "The doctors did not cut out the whole
foot one time. They did it gradually, toe by toe.
"The pain was so strong I was unable to sleep at
nights. I would wrap myself in a bedsheet and go
down by the river in the night to cool out.
"Some mornings my wife found me curled up on
the floor on the porch sleeping."
At no time, however, did suicide ever enter
Soogrim s mind.
He said sno cone vendor, Wesley Basdeo, who lives
nearby, has been a constant source of help and inspi-
ration for him.
He urged those who may be going through similar
ordeals and were overwhelmed with depression to
"have faith in God. Don t get discouraged, don t kill
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