Recently we shared some general information and photos of some of the changes happening in the community of El Limonal, including new houses being built for families.
Now we’re going to take you on a tour to meet the first batch of seven families who have gotten houses through this program and your help. When we visited the community in March we met with them, and toured their new houses (some still under construction).
See for yourself how happy they are to have been selected for this gift, for which they are ever grateful. Through your donations, Global Solidarity Group helped many of them pay the required $300 fee to the government, who in turn sponsored the rest of the cost of building the house, about $6000 US.
Family #1 – Teresa and her seven children
Sponsored by Darlene Hildebrandt, Rob Cooper (and their friends and family)
This is Teresa. She works as a Churakera, digging through the garbage to find bottles, cans, and anything that has value as a recyclable material that she can sell. Teresa is a single mother of seven kids (it’s not clear where the father or fathers are, but they aren’t in the kids lives). Her current partner stays home with the kids, while she works in the garbage dump with her daughter Vilma. The children are not in school.
My family has personally sponsored Teresa. I’m honored to have met and know her. She’s a tough lady, but we think she puts on a good face for us. Life for them is a daily struggle just to make enough money for food. Now that they have a real house they may be able to save a little.
Teresa is featured in the Gringos in the Garbage book and movie. She has lived in the community since hurricane Mitch in 1999 and has not had a day off or a vacation. I’d like to make that a reality for her one day.
In the video above she basically says thank you with all her heart for everything, visiting her, her house, and everything.
Family #2 – Oyneda
Sponsored by Darlene Hildebrandt, Rob Cooper and Ann Nickerson.
This is Oyneda and her family. She is married with two small children. Her husband can’t work because of a tumor in his head and he gets seizures. He used to work at banana plantation and one day he fainted then got fired because he was too much risk. She makes tortillas.
We interviewed her and asked her what it’s meant to them to be one of the families chosen for sponsorship to get a house. She was very emotional and grateful. For the last year all the money they had saved for a house has gone to buy medicine her husband needed – so they thought there were going to get passed over for a house.
You can see me taking the family photo above in the video. After we visited their home, I learned that my group (myself, my husband Rob, and our good friend Ann Nickerson) had also sponsored her.
Oyneda attended a jewelry making class and session with Teresa Cline, and I asked her if she was planning on selling what she made. A perfectly good way to make a bit of extra money for her family. But no, she made it very clear that she wanted them when she said, “No para mi!” – no it is for me! The ladies of El Limonal work so hard and get little joy or a break – it was so nice to see some small things make her happy. Something to feel pretty and feminine.
Here is her special thank you message to my family.
Jess: can you give us a message to all of Darlene’s family for supporting you? Oyneda: To all her family, tell them many thanks from the bottom of my heart. I’m thankful to God first and to them for giving us the money for the deposit for the house. God bless them and keep them healthy.
Family #3 – Migia Andres Miranda
Sponsored by Kerry Tustin and family.
Migia works in the dump as a churekera collecting recyclable materials. She is single mother of three boys aged 8, 12, and 17. They are all in school.
Migia: Hi Kerry, we thank you greatly in the name of God, myself and my family thank you for donating us our house. I thank you again and I hope you continue helping others. (We thank you) in the name of my family and mine.
Jess: When do you plan to live in your new house? Migia: Once is finished, painted at made all pretty we’ll move in. Thanks and until the next time we can see each other again.
Family #4 – Rosa
Sponsored by The Reitzel Family
Rosa has cervical cancer, she is mother to Rebecca, who lives and is being raised by Diogenes (her ex-husband) and Escarlet (they are also house recipients).
She has two other kids, and is a single mom. She’s afraid she will die of cancer, so she wanted a house to pass down to her kids, a girl 15, and boy 10 who are both in school.
Jess: What’s your name? Rosalinda Reyes. So this is my old house, is falling apart and now look at this house! (pointing out to her new house) I’m so thankful for it, to Mirsia, to you Jess. I’m thankful to them and the donors for giving me a roof for me and my kids, who aren’t here at this moment but regardless, we all are thankful for them (the donors) for making my house a reality.
Jess: How does it feel to own a house? Rosa: I feel calm and content. I felt scared of dying in my other house and leaving my children on the street, or having the house fall down and having no money for repairs. When Mirsa told me I was approved and the donors would help me, it made me feel very happy. It gave me hope I’d have a roof over my head and won’t get wet next winter.
Jess: From my point of view, all the people from El Limonal deserve a house. Rosa: I completely agree!
Family #5 – Angela de los Angeles Caldron
Sponsored by John and Deanna Ford and family
Angela and her family sell vegetables in the community. She is married with two sons and a granddaughter.
Family #6 – Ricardo Teodoro
Sponsored by Carol Kujala
Ricardo works in the sugarcane fields and, has six kids. He is a single father. Two of the kids work in dump and three go to school full time, two go just on Saturday.
Ricardo: Thanks for visiting me. I’m thankful to God for sending Carol who helped us giving us a place to live with dignity in a house that doesn’t get wet (the rain doesn’t get in). To live in happiness. Thanks to God for sending us Carol from so far away to come here, to El Limonal. Thanks.
Jess: Where’s your family? – They are away looking for work to bring home. We are seven living here. Jess: Congratulations – Thanks, thanks. God bless you!
Family #7 – Mercedes de Socorro
Sponsored by Carol Kujala
Mercedes does laundry and her husband works in the river scavenging to collect bits of scrap metal to sell (it’s very dangerous work, the walls of the river collapse, and raw sewage comes into the river from the sewage plant next door). They have two kids, one is in school.
Their new house was being built when we were there. So they are likely living inside their home now, a big improvement for this lovely family.
Husband: Hi Carol. This was our old house, I have to show it to you! Look at it.
Jess: Congratulations! Mercedes: My name is Mercedes Romero, these are Juan David and Josti. I thank God and Carol who blessed my with my little house. I hope to one day meet her face to face and thank her in person. God bless her and her family and I hope her heart continues helping other poor families like mine. Bye Carol
More updates to come
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Written by Darlene Hildebrandt – President of the GSG. Photos by Darlene Hildebrandt and Teresa Cline.