Returning to Cozumel & Jose’s Family Update–May 20, 2011

It is GREAT to be back on the island after spending several weeks in the midwest.  Although I love spending time with my family there, I don’t like the chilly damp weather.  The blast of heat that greets you when exiting the airplane after arriving on Cozumel is a welcome sign of being “home”. 
I missed spring this year . . . didn’t experience it in Iowa nor here on the island.  It is only May and already the days are scorching hot with high winds . . . that combined with no measurable rainfall for over two months is causing serious fires in the Yucatan pennisula across the channel from Cozumel on the mainland.  It feels like we’re in a dust bowl . . . partially from the lack of rain and also due to a gigantic project constructing a Sam’s Club and other retail store just a few blocks inland from our Cozumel home (a topic for another time).    
Iguanas thrive in these hot, dry conditions.  They seem to be more visible and active than ever.  Several newcomers took up residence in our backyard while I was in the US.  The “regulars” include eight iguanas plus three land turtles . . . a small version of “Wild Kingdom” when they are all out and about.  As I am typing this blog posting an iguana is scratching at the sliding patio door looking inside . . . the nerve!  In contrast to their energy, I feel perpetually “wilted” in the unrelenting heat.  
Visiting Jose’s family yesterday afternoon was a humble reminder that many local families have little or no relief from the elements . . . no AC or fans, no well water without rain so washing dishes, clothes or bathing is limited.  Read more about Jose and his family by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the page.  April and I took Jose’s family buckets of water, tomatoes and a large watermelon.  They were sooooo appreciative!  
Antonia, Jose’s grandmother pictured on the left, commented Jose loves being outside in the infant swing.  The swing and tarp awning were installed by Mission trip volunteers in February-March.  Here’s a family update:

  • Jose’s family members living together has reduced to 14, including 9 children ages 5-16.  Two of Jose’s aunts and their four children went to live with other relatives to ease the number of mouths to feed and close living quarters.          
  • The family now has two less incomes.  Jose’s mother is not able to work due to a serious health condition and his grandfather is out of work.  Jose’s uncle is the only wage earner for the family of 14.  Food despensas/supplies provided by donors as well as the generousity of neighbors in sharing locally grown produce has been a HUGE help.
  • GREAT news . . . Jose continues his motor skill development with therapy provided by Carrie’s Heart new physical therapist, Luis.  Former therapist, Hugo, returned to school for an advanced degree.  Yesterday Jose showed us he could clap by himself.  What an accomplishment!  Then he broke into a big grin and started laughing when we clapped along with him.
  • More GREAT news . . . Chrysalis has offered educational support for five of Jose’s brothers and cousins who will be in second grade or above beginning in August.  Receiving “becas” scholarships from Chrysalis will provide the basics children must have to attend public school (uniform, black shoes, supplies).  Friends of Cozumel will support the other younger children through the School Supply Project. We’re seeking additional donors to help with the younger children’s school uniforms and shoes. 

Check back soon for an update on NUAFA — Karen

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