Story Antony and Irma Judith Sanchez
Claudia Alamnzo, 23, lives with her husband Estuardo Bernal, 26, and their two children Denilson, 4, and Venessa, 1 month, in a shantytown near the neighborhood of San Juan de Dios, Zone 6 in
Claudia moved to this area five years ago when she decided to share her life with Estuardo who has lived in Zone 6 since childhood. “I was alone in the house with my two children when the rains started. Our house started to flood so I decided the best thing to do was to leave. I took my two children and we went to the highest part of the community. All of our things were buried underneath the landslide that happened just a few minutes after we left. Now our house simply does not exist. Thank God that the
The neighborhood of San Juan de Dios is located on the edge of a canyon where the Las Vacas River runs deep below. The families’ homes have been built down the sides of the canyon which is approximately 100 meters deep. The area had been used as a garbage dump, but about seven years ago dozens of families started arriving to build their homes in the canyon. The construction of the houses has not followed any type of construction regulation, being built piece by piece as the owners are able to find the economic means to buy the materials. The houses are mostly built of wood, tin, and cardboard with some retaining walls made of brick or concrete.
In general, the families here are very poor and many of them have multiple children. The men work informally at selling on the street or driving buses and taxis, while some have more formal work. Their income is around $10-$12 a day and very few of them have access to social security benefits. The women dedicate most of their time to taking care of the home, helping to sustain the family economically by working occasionally for other families doing housework.
Claudia’s husband is a bus driver. He generally leaves for work at 5:00 am and returns home at 8:00 pm. Claudia lives double amounts of stress on a daily basis. On one hand, she deals with the stress of having a husband work as a bus driver in an environment of violence that often affects city bus drivers and the transportation system in
The Rock of Salvation Mennonite Church, which is located in the community, has opened its doors as a temporary shelter for around seventy people whose homes where destroyed or were found to be in high risk areas after the storm. The work is being coordinated by the church’s women’s society, which Fialiley Ruano, Gladys, and Connie de Veliz are all members of. These three women are in charge of organizing and working together to attend to the needs of the families.
The rainy season has started strong in
the school in Panabaj was again filled with mud, making the construction of a retaining wall even more important
canal that runs through Panabaj during the rains
canal after the rains
road to San Pedro
road to Santiago, near Ana's house
destruction in San Antonio Polopó, community near Panajachel that suffered a lot of damage