At 68, Gregorio still has some important things to accomplish in life.
For one, he wants to improve the house where he and Nelly, his wife of 44 years, live.
Gregorio built the two-room stone house in a small town in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, but wasn’t able to finish the sheet-metal roof over part of it. He and Nelly stay in the kitchen when it rains or the temperature turns cool.
“I feel like my house is unfinished,” he said.
Gregorio is on the waiting list for a sponsor through Unbound’s program in Merida. His hope is that sponsorship assistance would allow him to take care of needs like finishing the roof.
“It would be a great support for our family,” he said.
Gregorio is retired but worked for most of his life in agriculture. He worked on a hacienda producing sisal, a plant fiber used for making rope and other materials.
With a small monthly pension that Gregorio said covers about three days of expenses, he and Nelly must cobble together additional income. He runs a small government store and receives food supplies as payment. He also makes and sells tortillas in the community, and Nelly raises pigs.
While Gregorio and Nelly don’t have children of their own to rely on for support in their elder years, they do have relatives who help out with occasional needs like taking them to the doctor.
Having a sponsor through Unbound would ease the couple’s financial burden and connect them with a supportive community of other elders and families participating in the program.
It would also be part of a second chance of sorts for Gregorio, who said he used to be a heavy drinker, but was forced to quit after getting sick with chikungunya, a mosquito-borne illness that causes severe joint pain.
“I was saved by the mosquitos,” Gregorio said. “A mosquito changed my life.”
Now he’s hoping that sponsorship through Unbound will be a catalyst for more life changes.
When children, youth and elders are enrolled for the sponsorship program, a local staff member or community volunteer fills out a family profile, which often includes insights about the person shared by family members or friends. Gregorio’s family profile described him this way, as someone who cares about others:
“Gregorio enjoys helping others and visiting his friends. Gregorio is friendly and likes to work grinding corn to make tortillas. He has his own grinder and knows many people by selling them tortillas. He loves his wife. …”
The profile went on to say that Gregorio is starting to lose his eyesight. Nelly has also had health challenges.
Having a sponsor would give them a little peace of mind in this next chapter of their lives.
Editor’s note: Since this was posted, Gregorio has found a sponsor. View other elders still waiting for sponsorship.