Refuge from the storm
This story was first published in 2017
Twelve years ago, we arrived to Caborca, Sonora. We did not have money to buy property. When we arrived, we stumbled upon an abandoned room made of clay. Our plan was to stay there just a few nights. I started looking for a job, and my only option was seasonal work on a farm picking asparagus. The season for this type of work only lasts the first three or four months of the year. When the season is over, I go up in the mountains to find plants and hunt animals so we can eat.
We have four wonderful children. Luis Fernando is 19 years old, Ana is 16, Dulce Victoria is 14, and Gloria is 11. My oldest son works packing asparagus and helps us with daily expenses.
I thought the small clay room was going to be a temporary shelter for us, where we could take refuge from the different climate changes, but we have been in our temporary shelter for much longer. It has been our home until receiving this new Amor home.
In that room my wife prepared one meal a day for us. It had a table where my kids ate and did homework. We had a fan that we used during high temperatures, and a lightbulb for light. At night, we put blankets on the floor so our children could sleep. During winter, if it was too cold and we did not have enough blankets, we turned on the brick oven where we usually cook; that way, the room would get warmer. Since there was not enough space for the seven of us, I had made a small cave under the same room. I know it could be dangerous and in any moment Mother Nature could cover us in dirt, but both of us decided it was better for us to sleep there than risking our children’s lives.
Every day I would think that this was not the right way to raise my children, but I had no other option. Until last week, when a local church that had never met us provided everything for us to receive a house. I had never heard of them, but I now surely have a place for them in my heart and they always have a place in our home. Now, my children are safe and warm. We can all sleep safely. Throughout the years, I felt hopelessness looking at my children suffering from the weather, the lack of food and housing, but not anymore.
Ramon Escalera Quintero