Jasodra has a quick wit and an infectious laugh that punctuates the ends of her sentences. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Jasodra moved to the United States in the 1960s after meeting her husband in the Virgin Islands. After years of traveling, they bought a house in Central Texas and settled down. “This is home now! Ain’t gonna go nowhere.”
Listening to Jasodra speak, it is immediately evident that she has a passion for learning. Since receiving a formal education through 4th grade, Jasodra has taken it upon herself to continue her education. “Whatever I learned, I learned on my own. I read — I love to read.”
“I have the books, but the bad part is, I don’t get the time to spend. When you do get the time, I’m too tired. By the time you sit down with the coffee, you fall asleep with the coffee in your hand!” she laughs.
Jasodra doesn’t have paid employment, but she does have a full-time job as a caregiver for her family. “I have three son — ah, let’s see — one, two,” she laughs while counting, “five grandkids and three great-grand.” Her sons are now all grown, but Jasodra still cares for her seventeen-year-old granddaughter.
After his heart attack, Jasodra has also taken on the role of caregiver for her husband.
“Yeah, taking care of my husband, taking care of [my granddaughter], that’s a full-time job.”
Her husband’s heart attack was two years ago. “I stayed with him for two weeks in the hospital. Never left. I bring him home and I took him home. Never put him in rehab or anything.”
“Up ‘til now, I still had to help dress him and all those things.” Though her husband has returned to work, he has had to transition to a part-time capacity, and Jasodra’s family feels a major financial strain as a result. Jasodra applied for SNAP for her granddaughter, but her request was denied because they made too much money to qualify. “Living on $1600, $1700 a month don’t go very far. Because by the time I pay my car payment, three something, the insurance is two something, and the other rest of the bills, you’re in trouble.”
Jasodra started coming to Central Texas Food Bank's mobile distribution after she heard about it through word of mouth. “The food bank helps a lot. Because I usually go to pantry, and that’s how I found out about this truck here. Two times I came and it helped very much. And the food is good.”
Since the heart attack, the cost of medication has become a significant expense for their family. Jasodra’s husband is a veteran, so they can make use of services provided by the VA, but those services still cost out-of-pocket money.
“My husband take about twelve or fourteen different kind of medication. It’s no fun. And to keep up with it is hard. He go to the VA but you still have to pay for the co-pay. You pay $50 for a doctor’s visit and whatever.”
The cost of medication means that Jasodra, who has health care needs of her own, has forgone treatment. “I myself, I have no thyroid action. And right now, I’m out of medication, [and I] refuse to go to the doctor because I don’t know what it’s gonna cost.”
When Jasodra is asked what her hopes for the future are, she expresses her desire to return to school. “I wish I had more education, but I don’t see that happening right now. You know, because when my kids were small, I said [I’ll go back to school] when they grow up. Well you know, then I go to the grandkid. But right now I’m 69 years old — I’ll be 70 in January. I don’t see it going very well.”
“But you just make the best of it one day at a time. You wake up in the morning, you’re happy. [If] you can move, you’re good to go.”