During our mini-tour in the Patapo District last Wednesday we stopped briefly at a home in the city of Patapo because our guide Josè, who is a surgical nurse at a Chiclayo hospital said he wanted to check on one of his patients. I think he also wanted us to see her situation (click on the photos to enlarge them).
This is Maria Idrogo. She is 69, an invalid and partially blind. She and her three mentally challenged children - two daughters aged 25 and 19 and a son 20 live in this house along with a 16 year old granddaughter. Once each month Maria goes to the hospital for the poor in Chiclayo where Josè treats her for multiple problems.
Maria’s husband died five years ago. Because of their handicaps none of her children were able to attend school. The son and the 19 year old daughter are noticeably impaired but are able to function. The granddaughter appears to be normal and is attending school. We don’t know anything about her circumstances…who her parents are or why she’s in this house.
There is a nephew who works on a farm and occasionally gives food to the family as do several neighbors. Some of the food is eaten and the rest is sold. This is the only income the family has.
Their food is cooked in this kitchen. There is a small gas stove but they can’t afford gas so whoever does the cooking cooks with wood that members of a church supply. When we were there smoke filled the house, burning our eyes and throat. Lower left in the photo a hand is visible under the table. It belongs to the 25 year old daughter who was frightened, hid under the table and would not come out.
This photo of one of the daughter’s sleeping area doesn’t need words to describe it.
It’s a tragic situation…an invalid grandmother who appears to have given up hope, a granddaughter and three mentally challenged adults. It’s not even clear who is taking care of whom, but somehow collectively they are surviving. Until now.
The immediate problem is that the house is literally collapsing around them. This section came down two months ago. It was the son’s bedroom. The entire roof is in danger of falling because the upper walls are disintegrating. The wall above the doorway in the first photo is already in the process of collapsing and could come down tomorrow. The family is absolutely helpless to do anything about it.
Josè knows people in the area who would donate their time to make emergency repairs to the house. We’re not talking about major rebuilding. It's too late for that. Sometime in the not too distant future the exterior walls are going to collapse. This is about a few bricks and some mortar to fill gaps between the roof and walls so that the roof beams stay up a few more years. And probably three or four galvanized plastic sheets to replace the roof.