Friday 11th October 2019
Guatemala has two main seasons, dry and wet. Yes, we do get a little colder during December and January, but on the whole, you can guarantee that by the end of October the rainy season is coming or has come to an end and so washing your car is now possible as well as hanging out the washing all day.
However, the last throws of the rainy season sometimes end with hurricanes or just days and nights of rain, and this last week was no exception. The rains were torrential and led to many landslides around the country. In one area where we work, Santa Fas, a landslide had affected two of the homes of the families we work with, and so when the call came around 9pm one evening I had to drive over in the most horrendous rain and climb down a muddy mountainside in the pitch black. Just one slip would send me over the edge and certainly to a long stay in hospital or worse.
Climbing over the make-shift bridges that leads me down to Jonatan´s home was an experience that challenges most people in the daytime, let alone in the dark and in the rain. It was clear a lot of soil and plants had given way and ended up pouring mud and water into their shack. At the top of the landslide was Ludwin´s home and it was more concerning as the home could actually give way at any time and tumble into the shacks below.
Ludwin is the youngest boy of the group from Santa Fas in mentoring with me and is struggling with many things that I hope to explore over the coming weeks. Some creative ways to help him talk about how he feels will be needed. It does break my heart when I see the family squatting over a piece of wood that takes hours to heat a small pot of beans. They are very poor indeed and live on less than £100 per month. I am not sure I could keep a family of five alive for that sum of money and no wonder why Ludwin feels ill when he comes over to eat at our home. It is all too much and his weight and height for his age is a worry. But then all four boys here are very underdeveloped, so a new challenge will begin to get then up to their expected development curve by the age of 12.
Living in Santa Fas is a challenge in itself and having to cope with the possible loss of your home is a worry that does affect these families and leads to stress, well…more stress. I knew that we would need to help and so when the rain had stopped we assembled the team and turned up one day to shore up the homes, clear away the mud and cover tin roofs, that are now rather porous, with plastic sheeting in order to keep what little possessions the families have dry.
Many thanks to those who sent in money to help with the efforts and if you want to see the video taken on the day then please do watch it here.