Hello to everyone from Santo Domingo, Ecuador! I've just come back from a week in Chontal where I had limited computer access, and want to share some good news!
I was able to meet with community leaders and those most affected by the landslides. Everyone came to agreement on dividing up the donation we gave (in total $12K) to buy materials so that homes for six people can be built, another two homes repaired, one man's work (livelihood) equipment replaced, and some sustenance given to one family whose farm was severely damaged. In the meeting, the group came to agreement on the different distributions, and they all agreed to work together to help each other with the labor - all within about one hour! We're in the process of transferring the money and hope that funds will be fully available in two weeks.
A house would normally cost about $4K to build from scratch, so our donation is complementing some progress that has already been made, as well as the shared labor that they are planning. Each has received from us between $500 and $2200. Some have moved to a new location, and some are rebuilding.
The picture here includes community leaders Ramiro Nogales and Shisela Morales (back, left), as well as those most affected by the landslide (two are missing). In the back row are, left to right, Ramiro Nogales, Shisela Morales, Arsenio Bosmediano, Joselito Nogales, Franklin Gordillo, Fernando Ruiz, me. In the front row, l-r, are Artemio Andrade, Marcelo Andagoya, and José Herrera.
I've also attached a picture of the letter I gave to Shisela Morales, who is the mayor of the broader district called García Moreno, with a copy going to each of the people receiving support. She has written a response for us, which is attached in Spanish, and which I've translated below. The hope is that each person can also add their own personal response, and that is in the works. I hope to be able to pass along all the gratitude I receive to you.
Thank you again for joining with me and contributing and being a part of a good work for these people, who have so few opportunities and resources. As I said before, doing it for them is doing it for me, too. God's blessings are abundant for those who give to the poor, and you have made new friends! I hope to send another update soon, and please feel free to stop by my blog here http://barriers2bridges.com/ to get more details of everything that's happening here. I'll end it here with the translation of Shisela's letter. God bless you, and feel free to write!
Please receive a sincere and cordial greeting on behalf of the local Government of the town of Garcia Moreno, as well as wishes for success in your personal endeavors.
Dear Jerome our great friend,
I want to send my sincere thanks to you, and through you to all the donors for the valuable contribution that you gave us for the victims of the landslide in the Community San Miguel de Chontal. Today thanks to your organizing and generosity, they will have their own homes to live in.
Here we report that the support has been prioritized for the following victims: Arsenio Bosmedio José Herrera Franklin Gordillo Marcelo Andagoya Artemio Andrade Fernando Ruiz Susana Proaño Dolores Mediavilla Daniel Gualsaquí
In light of the favorable regard that we owe you, I thank you in advance, but not before reiterating to you my sentiments of esteem and consideration.
Señora Shisela Morales President of García Moreno