Friday, November 7, 2008

Meriam Zulema Reyes and her family in Playa Grande

The last several weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.

Among other things, I have been working physically and brainstorming with an international food agency trying to develop an ongoing food program for the poor. I like to give, but I hate it when people think that they deserve handouts for sitting at home and doing nothing. Below is one of the homes where I interviewed the people and they seem to be good candidates for the "WORK FOR FOOD PROGRAM" which I hope to be implementing soon with the help of the international food agency. This program will have the people doing specified work assigned to them by a local leader, under my supervision on a weekly basis. The pilot program will be 3 months and we will then reevaluate to see how it is functioning.

To the left meet Meriam Zulema Reyes who was born in 1978. She is the mother in this home. She carries water from 330 feet away for the family to bathe and drink.

The father, Wilmer Javier "Chino" Banegas was born in 1980 and he and Meriam are the proud parents of 4 children. "Chino" is a local fisherman, but he doesn't have his own boat. When the tide is high, he might earn as much as 300 lempira per day, but the tide is high in cycles every 6 days and during low tide he can only wait for the high tide to come again. The low tide days he occupies himself with clamming and hunting for "curiles" which are small clams which the family can eat.

Figuring that "Chino" can only work half time he makes a total average of $7.91 per day and then he has to pay 25% of that to the man from whom he rents the boat. In the end he makes about $5.93 per day. Meriam washes clothes for others to augment their meager income.

Melyn Johana to the left in her pink blouse is the oldest child she is 8 years old and currently is enrolled in school.

After Melyn comes Neily Joslin who is 6 years old. Neily is shown below all smiles and posing in her white flowered shirt for the camera.

Four years later Wilmer Javier was born. He is now in his terrible twos and full of energy. Today when I arrived he was in his Tommy shirt, recently received in a package of clothing sent to flood victims. If you don't count the dirt, he is a strikingly cute young man.

Last but not least is Edras Alexander at the ripe old age of 1 year old. Unfortunately Edras was asleep and I didn't get a photo of him. You can see the lump in the hammock below and that is where Edras is sleeping.

The family of 7 have two twin beds and 2 hammocks. They have no electricity and they have no running water.

On the left side of the photo, you can see Meriam's brother Jose Catalino who is 18 years old. He lives with Meriam and her husband and helps with the fishing.

Meriam owns a piece of land (given to her by the government) that is 7 meters by 22 meters, but her house is pieces of plastic and wood with a little metal and palm leaves thrown in for good measure. All of the other children behind are curious neighbors who came to visit.

I am hoping to find a person or a church group who will donate cement for the floor of Meriam's house. I need about $150.00 to complete this project. I am not speaking of a think slab, I am speaking of covering the floor with cement, where the children have a better chance of survival. To make this slab, we must by iron to place inside the cement where it will not crack.

I also would like to find a church group who will help buy cement blocks where we can help Meriam and "Chino" build walls either one by one or all at once. If you know of a church group that would be interested in a Thanksgiving project or a Christmas project let me know. In future news, I will be letting you know about other families, one by one.

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