on the needles

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This Is What Poverty Looks Like

Let me take you on a tour of Hermelinda's family home in Guatemala, courtesy of Steve. These are still photos taken from the video he shot for me.

The trail leading up to Hermelinda's isolated home - 200 steps up a very steep hill.

Hermelinda's father Victor holds her two year old sister Marlyn in front of the tin sheets which comprise the walls of their family "home".

The kitchen. Hermelinda's mother Dorca cooks here over a fire in the open air.

Hermelinda's family in a photo from 2008 that I got from Children International. Mother Dorca holds baby Marlyn, Hermelinda next to her mother in a purple skirt, Yessica and Victor holding little Dulce. Since this photo the family has added one more child - I think a boy. After that birth Dorca had her "tubes tied". I think this was a smart decision for the future of her family.

This is the "pantry". A large barrel I assume is for water storage that hopefully will keep out the worst of the bugs, animals, rain and dirt.

The "bathroom". This looks like it is also in the open air with a curtain for privacy.

The family stands by the "front door" in 2008.

The "bedroom". The family has two metal bed frames for seven people.

The "living room". Hermelinda's family also sleep on the floor here.

Hermelinda's isolated home and extreme poverty readily explain the rarity of her smiles.

Hermelinda waves goodbye to me through the camera.

I have Children International looking into options to try to arrange better housing for Hermelinda's family but it is a problematic situation since they are essentially squatter's on the land that their "home" sits on. If I provide them with new materials to build a more secure structure there is every likelihood that the owner of the land will kick the family out and keep the new house to rent out to people who can pay. The only other options will probably be to buy them a piece of land (likely to be out of the range of what I can afford - thousands of dollars) or to attempt to relocate them to a rental (hard to see how they could afford to rent anything but possibly a move to a less isolated area may enable me to set them up an Income Generating Business). Anyhow - the housing situation outlook remains rather bleak.

In the meantime I have sent a special needs donation and have asked CI to enquire about portable household items the family could use - bunk beds, cooking utensils, furniture etc. - that will help make their situation better in the short term and can be moved with them if they can get into a better home.

The good news is that in addition to Hermelinda, Victor and Yessica also have sponsors. Please - if you can - consider sponsoring little Dulce:

or Marlyn:

Sponsorship is $22 a month and the aid this family gets from sponsorship is literally the difference between life and death for these kids. Without the food, medical and schooling help I don't see how they could survive. Contact me at the email link in the sidebar if you think you can help.

If you can't commit to a sponsorship please consider donating to one of my Income Generating Projects for some of my other families over at Aura's House. Donations seem to have slowed down so I really need your help!!

I'd also love to give out some surprise gifts to anyone who donates so please email me or leave a comment and let me know if you do!

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