I haven’t done an update on Elvia’s family in a long time. For those of you who haven’t read about Elvia, it begins with the post titled The Novena and a Tragedy. Other stories about her family can be found by searching ‘Elvia’
It is now just a little over two years since her husband Jesus was murdered. Her son Beto had the operation for his salivary gland tumor and that’s gone well. He’s in the preparatory school for one more year then hoping to go to a university to become a chef. The girls, Karen, Teri, Paulina and little Lupita are all doing well.
Since her husband’s death, she has been living in her in-law’s home. She has one room where she sleeps with her four girls and Beto shares with a cousin. Thirteen people share the home, a caring environment but very close and tight. She talked to me the other day about not knowing how she was going to be able to purchase new school uniforms and supplies for school for the four girls for the next term, as they all go to new schools this August.
She works full time cleaning and cooking at what she describes as a private home, which often has groups of people for weddings and events. She makes 1,000 pesos per week, the equivalent of about $85.70 at today’s online exchange rate. Her normal schedule is 9-3pm but when people are in the house they expect her to work for the same pay but from 6:30 am until midnight. I think this is not legal and tell her so. She also cleans for me in her spare time, once a week and she cooks full meals that she sells from her doorstep every Friday night. She is industrious, religious, and a mother hen with her children.
She came to me this week asking if I could help find her more work. I can’t imagine how she can possibly do anything else. So I asked her what she really needed. The looming issue for her now is that the four girls all have to go to new schools in August and she cannot afford the uniforms for the school year, which for 2 sets, including shoes and school supplies are going to cost about $6500 pesos, or about $640 usdls.
I did the math and she would have to work for at least two full months to be able to pay for this. Then she’d have to work double time those two months to cover her basic living expenses. This doesn’t include the tuition that Beto will need for his coming school year in the preparatoria (like high school) which, including registration and the 10 months of fees are going to be somewhere around $7,000 pesos. Another extra 9 weeks of full time work.
The day before yesterday, I decided to post to the San Miguel lists to see if anyone would like to help this family with school expenses. We’ve had a nice response and donations are beginning to come in, and I wanted to personally thank everyone who has offered to help. We haven’t met our goal yet, but the response is heartwarming and Elvia and her family are very moved that people who don’t even know them would be willing to help. We are still a little short, and I’m sure we will get there, but if anyone out there would like to make a small contribution, contact me through here and I can tell you what is still needed, or if we have met our goal.
I am grateful to all because if there is anyone who deserves a little break it is Elvia. So thank you everyone.