“Papa,” as the kids call him, lives in an extended family group where he shares six rooms with his adult son and daughter, an adult daughter-in-law and about 14 children. It’s not a traditional house, but a series of separate structures with walls of cement block, cardboard or sticks.
The daughter-in-law’s husband abandoned the family years ago. Their 14-year-old daughter Maria, is not allowed to go to school because she is charged with daily care of her five siblings while mama works. Mario is 11, Evely is 9, Perla is 7, Adirana is 5 and Naomi is 3.
Juan, the adult son lives in one room with his wife and their three young adult children.
The outdoor kitchen area is shared by all the family members, but the roof was badly in need of repair.
Because rain can be a daily occurrence during the winter in Cozumel, leaking water is an ongoing problem for the family.
The family is active at Vida Abundante church, where a new building was recently constructed. The previous tin roof on the church was no longer needed, creating a perfect opportunity to repurpose the materials to replace the family’s leaky kitchen area roof.
Two members of the family worked alongside VA’s Pastor Salomón and four volunteers from Friends of Cozumel. It was a hot day, but in just a few hours, they were able to tear off the old roof, install new support beams and fasten down the recycled tin. FOC strives to include family members in the process whenever possible to help create a sense of ownership and pride.
The family now has a dry area to prepare their meals. Soon, FOC will also replace the roof of the room where Maria and her four sisters and brother used to sleep, but now can’t because of the leaks.
The plight of Maria and her siblings touched new FOC volunteers George and Cheryl from New Hampshire. In addition to working on the roofing project, they’ve decided to outfit the six children with new clothing and will also bring “despensas” or food packages to the family.
Friends of Cozumel maintains a donation fund to purchase materials for mission projects such as this. Want to help? Find out more here: http://friendsofcozumel.com/your-help/how-to-make-a-donation/
~ Phyllis from Nebraska