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  • noahchonlee

A Kid At the Shelter Was Adopted!

A couple months ago Francisco and I launched the initiative to create a kids' shelter in Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador:

We crowdfunded on viaPrize and raised enough to build the space with 4 bedrooms and a bathroom

Thank you everyone for the support!

Even before finishing construction, Francisco already took in Silvio when his father had beaten him and tossed him out of his house in a drunken rage. Silvio is from a village in the Amazon Jungle near to where Francisco was born. I met him in that village in the jungle when he was ten as I visited Francisco's extended relatives and when we delivered solar power banks. Small things made me feel a sense of shared experience with him such as how he is the only boy in a family with many sisters and how people call him "Chino" because of his appearance.

When his father kicked him out of the house, Francisco took him in. Silvio is age 14 currently.

After a few months, Silvio also met with Francisco's adoptive parents Cesar and Manuela in the town of Riobamba.

A few decades earlier, a 6 year old Francisco sat crying outside of a police station. A kindly farmer in town to sell his produce stopped to ask why he was crying. Francisco's father had shot at his mother with a shotgun in a drunken rage. After that, she ran away and disappeared from his life. The farmer, Don Cesar, invited Francisco to his farm in Riobamba and he and his wife Manuela adopted him as one of their own sons.

Now, they have done the same for Silvio. All of their kids are grown and they greatly enjoy having a youthful presence in their household. I had the pleasure of meeting Don Cesar and Donna Manuela on a previous trip with Francisco when we celebrated Christmas together. I am glad to say they are incredibly cheerful, welcoming, and kindhearted people.

They are also amazingly hardworking. I woke up with Don Cesar at 5am when I was on their farm to milk cows, carry loads of wood along with the donkey, and I struggled to keep up with him as he continued with his daily routine. He is in a beautiful, peaceful area in the Andes Mountains and has told us is he quite happy to be there. He wants to stay in Riobamba where there is a school where he has told us he wants to study to become a veterinarian.

I expect to see him again as he's asked me to come visit him in Riobamba someday.

Meanwhile, back in Baños Francisco has almost finished laying down the tile to finish the construction of the new space that he has been building by hand:

The timing might be quite needed because the intense rain this month led to a mudslide in a village next door to Baños that has killed 17 people and displaced 40 families as their homes were destroyed. They are currently taking shelter in a school nearby. We may take in individuals who have nowhere else to go after this natural disaster.

Here is a video of people escaping from the mudslide:

And a video of a mother reunited with her baby after they were separated during the disaster:

When the space is ready for inhabitants by the start of next month we will have to decide who to take in.

This is great progress, but clearly some great needs still to address! Please support Francisco's ongoing efforts here:

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