By Elizabeth Alex, community outreach and media relations director
In the summer of 2013, I had the chance to travel to Peru. I was constantly amazed by the sponsored friends and families we met. Here is one of their stories.
It caught my eye first thing. A big pink dresser.
It looked a little out of place in a humble shack built so high on a rocky hill I got winded walking up to the front door.
The pink dresser belongs to 4-year old Nayeli, the daughter of Elsa and Gerardo in Huaycán, Peru. They are squatters in this rambling shanty town because they can’t afford to rent, much less buy their own home.
They built their house themselves on a semi-flat surface of rock. The roof is made of sheets of corrugated metal. They used blue tarp for some of the walls.
To get to their water supply and toilets they walk dozens of steps down the steep hill. Not advisable during the night.
Their perch is so precarious they couldn’t build a kitchen on the patch of ground they selected. So they put a homemade ladder against the rocky hillside and built another little room even higher so the family could eat around a table.
Gerardo and Elsa are incredibly hospitable, inviting us in to have a look around.
“Thank you for the visit,” Gerardo said.
The parents explain they came from poverty themselves. Neither has much formal education. Dad earns a living selling bread in the market. Sometimes he makes a little extra selling ice cream when the weather is hot.
Huaycán sits on the outskirts of Lima, a tourist destination full of gorgeous colonial architecture, high-end fashion and luxury hotels. But Lima is worlds away from the house with the pink dresser.
I asked Gerardo and Elsa if they feel life has been unfair.
“I don’t envy anybody,” Gerardo said. “The important thing is that I am living fine with my family. My thought is that I need to move ahead and fight for my children.”
But Gerardo wants more than this touch-and-go existence for his little boy and little girl.
“We want them to be able to find a professional job,” Gerardo says.
Nayeli’s sponsorship with Unbound gives her and her 5-year-old brother Angelo that chance.
The funds they receive help keep the kids in school and put food on the table.
Letters from Nayeli’s sponsor, Jane, in Nebraska provide encouragement for the kids and the parents as well.
“I thank God for the neighbor who told me about Unbound,” Elsa said. “We’ve never had this support.”
Unbound sponsorship also allowed Gerardo to provide something more for his kids than food and education.
Something doting dads anywhere would want. He was able to save enough money to buy something special for his daughter.
Gerardo beams with pride when he looks at her and says, “Every little girl should have a pink dresser.”
Help a father realize dreams for his children. Sponsor today!