Lilian Jesusita: House Build
Lilian Jesusita is a 33-year-old single mother of three (soon to be four!) children, Hector (7), Jerson (6), and Kimberly (3). She left her abusive and alcoholic husband in search of a better life for her and her children. Both her and her children suffer from chronic malnutrition. They live in a house (pictured behind them) made of tin and cardboard with a dirt floor that is dusty in the dry season and muddy in the rainy season. They have no running water, no electricity, and no bathroom. Due to the poor living conditions, the children are often ill.
Lilian only has a third grade education. When work is available, she washes clothes by hand for other families. She makes about $27.00 per month. I met this little Mayan family personally a few weeks ago. Lilian, her three children and one on the way are humble, hard-working, and such gentle spirits. She stood in front of her house with tears quietly streaming down her face telling me the story of how she found the courage to leave her abusive alcoholic husband and start a new life for her and her children. She said, “Many people do not believe God is real, but I know for certain He is.”
This summer, the Para Servir Interns will be fully-funding and building a new home for Lilian and her family. The new home will be constructed of sturdy blocks with concrete floors, three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a private bathroom (with running water).
Right now, with no access to running water, Lilian Jesusita and her three children all use this stream as their main water source to drink from, bathe in, go to the bathroom, and wash their clothes. With a new home they will have a water filtering system in their house that will provide them with CLEAN accessible water. They will also have a bathroom with a toilet and a shower as well as a pila (large sink) for doing dishes, laundry, etc.
Also, Lilian’s current kitchen is a major health concern:
The small blue stool is where she sits as she builds a small fire on her makeshift stove. Black smoke quickly fills their house. There’s no outlet for the smoke from the fire and the tin walls and roof traps it all inside, making it impossible to breath or see. Once I had tried to stay in the house while a woman was cooking in a room like this. I had gotten soaked from working in the rain and needed to change my clothes before getting on the pickup truck to go home. For the few minutes I was in there it was miserable. Tears poured from my stinging eyes. I would hold my breath for as long as I could to keep the smoky air and that burning feeling from filling my lungs, then reach for a towel or shirt to cover my nose and mouth when my breath ran out. Exposure to this smoke can cause damage to the respiratory system and often results in asthma and other breathing problems. With a new home, Lilian Jesusita and her children will receive an Ecoplancha wood stove that has a chimney to keep them from breathing in the open-fire cooking smoke for hours on end.
While a new home and all its fixtures will greatly increase the quality of life for Lilian Jesusita and her children, we are most excited for the long-term relationship that we will build with her and her family. New clothes, food, and school scholarships are wonderful, but what we want most is for this family to know that they are loved by God and not forgotten.
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