Edwin's Ecuador Earthquake Recovery
At 7pm, on Saturday, April 16, EDWIN ESPINEL lost almost everything when a devastating 7.8 earthquake hit the fishing town of Manta, on the Pacific Coast of Ecuador. Within 3 minutes, 100s of people died, thousands were injured , and Edwin's life was ripped apart by collapsing buildings.
We are requesting $6875 in assistance to get Edwin back on his feet so he can continue to support his family and the community that depends on him for their recovery and future prosperity.
Edwin is an industrious family man. He makes his living as a driver and all-round, go-to problem-solver for many expats and retirees living in Manta. He's also a selfless community builder for the young and poor local residents of the city. But in a matter of moments, Edwin - the guy who solved everyone's problems - had insurmountable problems of his own.
"Please don't say I lost everything," he pleads. "My precious family is still alive. We just lost things we had and people we loved from our community."
Living with Edwin is his lovely wife, Wendy, his two daughters, Shantal and Anahi and his two elderly parents. Their very modest home sustained so much damage that now everyone must live and sleep together in one room. Edwin remains grateful even for that.
Edwin's only car was demolished in an underground parking garage, only moments after he walked away. Cars in Ecuador are seldom insured (his wasn't) and extremely expensive to replace. As a professional driver, losing his automobile means losing his family's livelihood. And yet Edwin believes God will provide.
Help Edwin And You Help A Community.
A faithful member of Iglesia Bautista el Palnar (church), Edwin assists his community where it counts most - by helping them learn to help themselves. He assists the poor to become entrepreneurs by providing resources at very low prices to be repaid over time. It's the same concept as microlending, but instead of giving cash, you provide the materials for furniture-builders and jewelry artists. But without his car, Edwin can't transport supplies, much less help people.
How Your Contribution Will Be Used:
$6000 downpayment on a replacement used car.
$875 fees, taxes, registration, etc.
A car in Ecuador costs about twice as much as the U.S.
Even a good used car can easily run $10-12,000. We hope to help Edwin reach that goal, but he needs a minimum of $6000 to buy any safe, used vehicle, and it will be at least 10 years old at that price.
When Do We Need This Money: As soon as possible!
We will keep this campaign open 2 weeks until
Wednesday, May 4, 2016.
Who Is Behind This Campaign?:
1. Sigrid Tidmore from Florida, campaign organizer
2. Mary Chandler from Texas
3. Kelly & Jeff Irish from California
4. Galina & Robert Milton from Washington & Utah
Sigrid's Comments: I urge you to support Ecuador's recovery by directly helping individuals like Edwin, who are known and trusted by so many of us. He is a force multiplier for your contributions, because it is people like him that will help a whole community to recover.
As a long-time nonprofit manager, I will be responsible to collect the money and see that it is spent directly in the way we have promised. I'm proud to serve my U.S. and my Ecuadorian friends by proving that we are all really one people under the skin.
Mary's Comments: Edwin is a wonderful man with a huge heart to help people any way he can! Just last week he helped some of my friends to buy a truck and when he came to pick them up, he gave me a ride into Manta as well. On the way to get my friends, I asked Edwin if I could pray for him and I thanked God for how he has helped others and asked God to protect and provide for him - little did I know the significance of that prayer! I'm so grateful God protected him and his family and now it is through us that God will help provide for their needs. Edwin has given to and helped so many others - please help us to now give to and help him as well!
Kelley & Jeff's Comments: Edwin helped me buy a used truck. While this might sound like a simple task, it is very difficult in Ecuador, especially for a Gringo. Since everything imported into this tiny country is very expensive, a vehicle is no exception.
Edwin texted me the morning after contacting him with two options. He arranged a fair price with one of the sellers and checked out the truck to make sure it was sound. He stayed with me the whole afternoon to make sure the paperwork was correctly submitted and the bank transaction went smoothly (everything in Ecuador is done on a cash basis). On the drive home, we realized that the seller had neglected to mention some things malfunctioning with the truck. After letting Edwin know of my disappointment, he arranged to meet me the next day and spent three hours with me at auto repair "shops". I left Manta, where I bought the truck, with everything repaired. Edwin did not have to help me; it wasn't his job. He did it because he has a generous heart and truly acts out his Faith rather than preach it. Edwin speaks of God and Jesus as if they live next door to him. Before eating lunch, he requests prayer. I was very fortunate to meet Edwin. His misfortune is our misfortune.
Sorry its been so long since our last update, but virtually everything took longer to do than we had planned. The good news is that Edwin has purchased a new car, and we will soon be unveiling it to you. Meanwhile, Edwin and his family wanted to give you a sneak preview photo (see attached)
Between GoFundMe and other private donors, $9,000 was raised! The funds are being expended in the following manner:
$7200 - 1996 Chevrolet MiniBlazer with a 2010 transmission & engine
$500 - Car registration & fees
$700 - New timing chain & crank shaft
$600 - Cosmetic & comfort improvements
Questions you might have:
1. Why did an older car cost so much? All cars in Ecuador are valued at almost twice the US Bluebook. Edwin chose a classic car for dependability, customer comfort & ease of repair (he's something of an expert in this area.) This car also allows him to carry more people and suitcases.
2. Where's the car now? In the shop. When Edwin and his mechanic get through, this car will shine. In addition to mechanical improvements, he's repairing the A/C windows and paint job.
3. How's Edwin doing since the earthquake? Thanks to your contributions, Edwin and his family have been energized with hope and energy for the future. He's been driving (using a borrowed car) and fixing his new car in the meantime. His 3 girls are back in school, and the whole family is back in their home together.
So stay tuned... in a couple weeks we'll show you Edwin with his brand new taxi (well, maybe not brand new, but beautifully restored). You should take great satisfaction in having been instrumental in helping to rescue this family after they lost everything.
Thank you. Sigrid, Mary and Kelley
Friends, you are incredible. Your continued generosity is helping more people than we ever imagined.
Edwin has set up a transport fund that uses all the $$ over our original goal to taxi entrepreneurs in his community to destinations that aid them to restart their business and homes. This small act is critically important, because if they can't get to their resources and customers, they can't do business. The net effect is that local entrepreneurs get a hand up with free transportation, and Edwin earns more money towards his replacement automobile. In order to keep things moving,
Edwin's Dad has loaned him his car to drive until Edwin can earn enough to pay for a decent, dependable taxi car (i.e. one in good condition and great gas mileage.) In Ecuador, that's a tall order. It will probably be the end of May by the time he finds a good used car and goes through all the legal push-ups to acquire it, but we'll keep you posted.
Meanwhile here's some photos to connect you with what's happening on the ground.
Thanks for your continued support. These people really need it now. Sigrid
Thank you everyone for reaching our goal towards Edwin's recovery in record time. It has made a profound difference in his life already.
Of course, disaster needs are not all immediately apparent. 12 days after the earthquake, Edwin, his family and his community continue to experience new losses and set-backs.
Because of this, Mary and I have decided to continue the campaign until our original end date of May 4. In addition to funding a replacement car for Edwin (which turns out to be more expensive than we thought), we will make some micro-funds available for Edwin to distribute to small entrepreneurs to jump start their businesses. These people were Edwin's customers before the quake, and have likewise lost everything when their houses and businesses collapsed.
We'll be sending you a full report by the end of the month, but meanwhile, we want you rest in the knowledge that a little bit can go a long way towards getting a community back on its feet.