Casa de Mera, Guayaquil, Ecuador (8/7, 4:35 p.m.)

( transcribed journal entry from 08/07/08, 4:35 p.m. )

Street outside of my host family's home.
Paved street around the corner.

We went on a tour of some houses this morning to see some of what Adopta Una Familia and Mi Cometa have done over ten years. It is impressive, Just around the corner from here, there are roads with sidewalks, with proper sewage removal underneath. That’s in large part due to the ongoing protests and actions of the North American volunteers.

House finished by the project this year for Luis.

InterAgua (the local water corporation) is owned by a company based in the United States, the former president of which is a man by the name of Cheney, for what that’s worth. For every dollar InterAgua (or any water company) charges for metered water, 10 cents pays for bringing the water in, 70 cents pays for the removal of the waste water/sewer, and the rest is profit. If there is no sewer, however, no way to remove the water, then the company keeps the full 90 cents on the dollar as profit. So what exactly is the incentive for a corporation to help build sewers?

Luis in August 2007 (he's now bedridden).

Anyway, many of the houses were beautiful, and almost all came with a sad/inspiring story. But why not my family? They are larger and have less than most others we saw, and they are still waiting for their house to be finished.

A particularly moving story is that of Luis, who volunteered with the building program for several years before the North Americans discovered where he lived: in a lean-to, made from a banana tree and some sheet metal wrapped around kind of like a teepee. Louis, in his eighties, fell and broke his hip, and has continued to go downhill since last year, but AUF built him a house, and finished it this year. He is not expected to live much longer, but for these last few months, he is living, and dying, with dignity.

Banana tree under which Luis used to live. The wood you see was his bed.

That’s what about $12,000 can do.

I finally saw my friend Crisitan after lunch. He really does understand me better than the others. When speaking with him and Andres, I hardly need my dictionary at all. So glad I took those Spanish classes!

The other North Americans have gone on a bus tour of the city, but I begged out, claiming sickness, so I could actually spend some more time with my family and friends. So glad I did! We’re now getting ready for a banquet tonight. There’s a little confusion about who will be going and whether or not my family has paid in full, so we’ll see what tonight holds.

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