The Angel Treasure
It is difficult to remember that this eight year-old was born with one arm and no legs! He is oblivious to hardship. His handsome, dimpled, smiling face is irresistible. He endures our frequent cheek kisses with patience.
He lives with his mom Alicia, two sisters Nora and Edith, two brothers Florentino and Jesus, and his grandmother Alexandra, (72) and great-grandmother Maria (90). They recently lost their house due to an unwise decision made by the father to borrow $7000 against the property. The creative grandmother, realizing the equity remaining in the property transaction, asked for and received a partially built two-room home located on the outskirts of Agua Prieta, an undeveloped area without water or electric services for everyone. There are two rooms, a bathroom, and a very large yard. Before the project start, we secured a firm title in the name of the grandmother and Angel.
Every year since 2005, the Rotaract (college) and Interact (high school) Rotary Clubs of Logan, Utah, raise money to build a home for a deserving yet desperate family here in Aqua Prieta. Their drive is nineteen hours, their work is scheduled for three days, and their return home begins at mid-point on day four. The crew is directed by Wings of Angels Mexican constructor Marcelino Enriquez. Work began in April, 2010. A large main room was constructed including electric wiring and plumbing for the future services which are expected. Alicia is an avid gardener and half of the site was tilled and prepped. Gutters (prepared in Logan) run around the roof collecting rain water in tanks for irrigation and use in the toilet.
In early summer the family moved into their new home. Alicia noticed the cool interior temperature. (We include insulation and dry wall under the tin roof in the houses we prepare which is not a standard practice in Mexico). Alicia has chilies, chard, and squash growing. A special low window in the new room enables Angel to see everything happening outside from his wheelchair. And Angel has a table garden for his personal use. A new concrete path allows his easy access.
As you may remember, we created a Saturday Art Class for Martin, Esther who suffered a stroke at 13, and others including adults with disabilities. Martin is learning design and drafting techniques to pursue a career either in engineering or architecture. Angel is especially good at mathematics and may follow Martin in a similar career. Martin and Angel have become very good friends and we expect Martin to guide Angel through the more difficult days to come as a teenager. It is breathtaking to remember that between the two of them they share one arm and two legs, precious and invincible, and a great example for those with a tendency to whine and not enjoy life at any age.
The collage shows the original house (top and bottom center), preparing the garden soil and cesspool, Angel painting his bedroom, the “school room” he and his friends America and Melissa built for themselves (middle left). Melissa teaches the other two eight-year-olds English. Inside the new great room Jeff Larsen of Logan, Utah Rotary, leads the build-out crew of college Rotarians. Lower right we see Angel and his sister Edith at the Wings of Angels Saturday Art Class.