Hello and Happy New Year, family and friends!
Wow, this post is long over due. As most of you know, we are back in Durham (NC), but there is still news to share from Tabuga, Ecuador.
Jose remains with a broken leg. As you know, the day we fly out was the day that Jose was admitted to VosAndes Hospital for the second time. However, his blood pressure was too high to operate. We had a feeling like this might happen. We also knew Jose might become more fearful of an operation once it looked like it would become a reality. All we know is that they assured us, once we were home in the US, that nothing could be done to get the operation completed. They returned our portion of the money and explained that if Jose and Rosa wanted to make another trek to Quito they would try again, but that there was nothing else they could currently do.
Jose and Rosa understand this option, but so far have expressed no interest in returning. The trip is simply too arduous to go through again. We set out with the intent to get him walking again, alleviate the pain and assess his overall physical condition. Throughout the weeks, it started to become apparent that their story was bigger than the car accident. Our goals and hopes were likely different from theirs. They are used to a quiet, tranquil life in coastal Ecuador. Looking back, we can now see that giving them a comfortable living situation and simple stability in everyday life is the best thing for them. Since returning back to the States, this has been the focus.
And so, they have a home! The last of the construction had been completed just before they returned back to Tabuga on August 20th, a couple of days after we flew home. With all your support, we were able to purchase a small plot of land in Tabuga that is under their ownership for life. The house itself is small, simple but very comfortable and most importantly manageable given their limited capacities. We have them set up with a bed, two hammocks, a dining table with chairs, a fully functioning kitchen with cooking supplies, and food. Jose also has a supply of pain medication to ease getting around.
With the refund of the hospital payment, we've been working on some new projects for them with the help of Miguel, our great friend. Up until about a month ago, they had to share the neighbors bathroom and had no water or electricity. Miguel put together a team and built them a personal bathroom right next to their house which is a huge relief with its easy access. Also, Miguel worked with the municipality in Jama (the nearest city in the county) to get them an electric hookup. So, now they've got some lights instead of always using candles.
One of the main goals in recent months has also been to establish a reliable water connection. However, in September the bridge that was located next to the old house they were squatting in was demolished by a government highway project. That same house, from which they would of been forced to leave by the owner had it not been for the house we built for them, was also taken down. What amazing timing in building them their own home! As for the water supply, it cannot be completed until the new bridge is finished as it runs over the only available water source in the area, the Tabuga river. There is no government established water supply infrastructure for all Tabuga residents. So, for now they are gathering the water further upstream until construction ends. Our last project with the donations made will be to build a system that pumps water into their kitchen sink and bathroom.
Even though they are far away from us, Jose and Rosa are very much still in our hearts. We hope that they are safer, more comfortable, and a little happier thanks to our work and your support. And we KNOW that we are forever changed. We have learned that Mother Teresa was right; great things are very hard to do, but small things, done with great love are simply the best investment of time and heart that there ever was. Thank you for being part of this adventure.
Us and Miguel on the roadside of Tabuga. Our last day on the coast before coming heading home.
Rosa and Jose's New Home!!
Simple, but comfortable, safe, full
of their daily needs and they own
it thanks to your support! Thank You.