Last summer, the hill that towers over SOS Children’s Village Mexico City gave way to a major landslide. It pulled down boulders and stones onto the homes below. A boulder measuring two meters in diameter plummeted into one of the SOS family homes, leaving a large hole in the wall.
The estimated damage to the Village is US $316,000. SOS Children is still raising funds for reconstruction of the Village. Mexico experiences frequent earthquakes, which makes landslides a permanent threat. Today, much of the damage still remains – the boulder still sits where it fell. The children who have been moved into other homes have had to adjust to living in a new home.
Eric Lugo, a staff member at the Mexico City Village, explains it has been a hard transition for some of the young people. “When the landslide struck, there was no water or electricity. They couldn’t wash themselves. It was a very huge landslide, and there were five children in the worst-hit house at the time,” he says.
SOS mother, Marisa Muñoz, knows to well the pain the landslide has caused her family. Marisa is raising nine girls who have survived abandonment, sexual abuse and violence. They are currently living together in a two-story house in central Mexico City.
Adolescence is a difficult period in anyone's life. Marisa is trying to support all the girls during their transition. She explains that settling into their new home has been more difficult for the teenage girls.
When Maria, Lucia and Ximena arrive at the kitchen, they begin to prepare the table for lunch. They set out forks, knives and napkins. All three are biological sisters and have been here for the last five years with Marisa, whom they all call “Mami”.
The girls never went to school before coming to the Village. Lucia, the eldest sibling, has learned how to read and write. “I want to be the first woman president of Mexico. I want to help with poverty and crime,” she dreams.
Although the children have adjusted well to life at the Village, they have struggled to settle into their new home. Marisa explains that the girls are anxious another disaster is going to strike the Village. With patience and positive communication, Marisa tries to relieve the girls of their worries.
“I try to explain to the girls that they have nothing to worry about. They are safe here at the Village,” says Marisa. “It breaks my heart to see them upset. But, they know I will protect them, always.”
SOS Children's Villages has been working in Mexico City since the early 1970's. You can sponsor a whole SOS Children's Village. Discover how you can help every child growing up there to flourish.