Ecuador Earthquake Relief: Bahia
$6,076 of $10,000 goal
Our names are Eliza Burbano, Ana Isabel Carranco and Pierre Castro, Ecuadorians studying at Union College, NY. On April 16 of this year, a devastating Earthquake (7.8 in magnitude) hit the whole country of Ecuador, killing so far more than 500 people (and increasing), and injuring more than 4,000.
Ecuador is a small country in South America, and it is in a state of turmoil and chaos. Thousands of homes have been destroyed, cities are complete rubble at this point.
People are sleeping in the streets, and some are still missing. My mom and siblings (Pierre Castro) are currently without communication, with no water, no food, and no electricity. The small hospital in their city (Bahia de Caraquez) is completely saturated. Any donations of any size are extremely appreciated, and all proceedings will go directly to the representatives working with the Red Cross in Bahia de Caraquez, the village where my mom and siblings live. To get the funds to those who really need it, we will personally collect the money from the GoFundMe campaign, and wire it directly to the representatives working with the Red Cross in Bahia de Caraquez. These funds will provide water, non-perishable food, medicine, and coffins (families are mourning their relatives on the streets). Thank you so much for all your kindness.
"A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” -Steve Maraboli
Eliza Burbano, Ana Isabel Carranco and Pierre Castro Viteri
My mom and siblings (Pierre Castro) finally made it safely to safe zones in Ecuador. They spent various days without water or food. Although they are safe, they will not be able to go back to their home. According to their experience, people in Bahia de Caraquez desperately need water, food, tents and medicine. Small children are starting to get sick due to the lack of drinkable water. Please help us help them in this time of need.
These are the images we are receiving from Bahia de Caraquez and the surrounding regions at the moment:
1. After falling one too many times, this man embodies the true meaning of resilience.
Don Villa grew up in Manabi, Ecuador, and at 48 years old he takes care of his two sons, Matthew (24 years old) and Alexander (18 years old), on his own after divorcing his wife many years ago. Don Villa is also a man that overcame a strong drug addiction as a young adult. Nevertheless, this did stop Don Villa from working hard and achieving his dreams. “Siempre para adelante Pierre, para atras ni para coger viada” he always happily chants. The saying roughly translates to “Always go forward, never go back, not even to gain speed”. And he lives by these words, as he just obtained his bachelor degree in Clinical Psychology, and recently founded an organization of psychologists that help teens with drug addiction in Manabi. “My drug addiction inspired me to help people struggling with the same problem. If there is one thing I strive to achieve in my work, is to humanize drug addicts again. People don’t realize how society strips away the humanity from addicts, marginalizing them, stigmatizing them. But at the end of the day, they are human beings. They have aspirations as well as insecurities. They have family and they have friends. A lot of them have hobbies and passions, but society only looks at the “addict” tag they carry with them”.
The earthquake, unfortunately, completely destroyed Don Villa’s home (picture above is what’s left). Using used wood he found in the streets he constructed an unstable shack to protect him from nature. Nevertheless, he never stopped working for his organization to help teens. The donations recollected helped Don Villa get food, water, kitchen supplies, and a mattress (he was currently sleeping on the floor which was impairing his ability to work for long hours). By giving him a boost to keep on fighting, we are able to also help and reach out all the teens his organization helps out. Moreover, it is important to note that all purchases were made in Bahia, which helps reactivate the local economy.
2.“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”
Galo Alcivar and his children Jonathan, Ruben, Carla and Elizabeth used to sell lotto tickets in downtown Bahia before the earthquake. When the earthquake destroyed most of downtown Bahia, the main source of income for Galo and his family completely dissolved. “After 2 months without a single penny of income, my family and I started to feel asphyxiated. You feel powerless, you know, as a father that cannot provide tranquility to his family”. At the same time, it was in his family where he found a breath of fresh air. “My grandfather was a baker, and he taught all of his grandchildren how to make bread. It was at this moment when I undusted the old oven that my father used to own”.
Galo decided to start selling bread rolls in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, he lacked the capital to begin producing bread. “I just need the initial inputs to start. After that, the business would be self-sustained”. The donations provided Galo all of the inputs he needed for a week’s worth of bread. Galo pledged to look at this money symbolically as a loan, and that he and his family would work hard to turn his family recipe into a successful business. Moreover, it is important to note that all purchases of inputs were done in Bahia, which helps reactivate the local economy.
3.“A single mother has a backbone made of steel and a heart made of gold”
Gabriela Zambrano Rosado is a single mother to Irina and Dario. After the earthquake, her home was completely destroyed so she moved in with her mother. Her mother’s home was severely affected by the earthquake, making it impossible to sleep inside of the house itself. As a result, Gabriela and her children slept outside in a small corral. In the days after the earthquake, Gabriela turned the small corral in a gathering place were strained families affected by the earthquake would gather to have a meal and relax. “I tried to do the best out of a horrible situation. I knew I was lucky because I was the only one in the neighborhood with a working (improvised) kitchen. So I decided to share this luck with all the neighbors”.
The donations provided Gabriela with food, water and medicine for her baby that was suffering of pneumonia. Moreover, the donations also gave Gabriela and her family the materials needed to fix her mom’s house to be able to move in again. It is important to note that all purchases were made in Bahia, which helped to reactivate the local economy.
4.“The only disability in life is a bad attitude”
Alejandro Moncayo Garcia is 23 years old, with a slight mental disability. His father died when he was young, and currently lives in a broken household where he is extremely neglected. The earthquake destroyed the rooftop in his house, but thankfully, the rooftop was fixed. In the process of reconstructing the rooftop, Alejandro told me he donated his small savings. “My little sister (16 years old) and her two children, my nephews, are the most important thing in my life. And without a rooftop, they would have suffered a lot. I feel great that I was able to help, even if that means I have to still use broken shoes”. We later found out he was saving money to get shoes as he was getting blisters from the only pair of broken shows he had, and a soccer jersey. The donations provided Alejandro with new shoes and the soccer jersey he always dreamed of having.
5.“Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten”
After the earthquake, the government gave Abel Cedeno and his family 2 months to leave their home as it was deemed unsafe. “We had to leave, but we had nowhere to go. Not only do my daughter live with me, but my grandchildren as well. I had to find a solution, and quick”. A friend of his kindly shared a small piece of land, and Abel undertook the project to construct a small house in that space. The donations provided Abel with the wood he needed to construct the house, and be able to shelter his family. All wood was purchased in Bahia, which helped reactivate the local economy.
Note: A portion of the funds was given to the Red Cross in Manabí.
On behalf of Pierre, Ana and myself, we want to thank all of you who made this campaign possible. Today we are ending this campaign to withdraw the funds.
We started this campaign the day we heard of the devastating earthquake that hit Ecuador on April 16. All three of us, being so far from home, looked for a way to help our Ecuadorean brothers and family.
The feeling of anguish was turned into hope once we saw the amount of people supporting this cause. We want to thank each and everyone of you, whether you donated, shared the link, or simply came up to us to give us moral support. It has been definitely a hard time, specially for Pierre and his family, who thankfully, and luckily, are healthy enough to work back into their daily routines.
Unfortunately, not all Ecuadoreans enjoyed this kind of luck. Many lost family members, homes, businesses, their way of life. These funds, that all of you have kindly provided, will help many families in ways you can't imagine.
Pierre will be going to Ecuador at the end of June. He will take the money and personally give it to authorities working with the Red Cross in Bahia de Caraquez. These funds will provide food, water, medicine and materials to rebuild homes. To guarantee the veracity of this campaign, Pierre will take pictures of all items bought, plus pictures of itemized receipts.
Once again, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you all for the collective effort. This would have not been possible without your kindness and generosity.
Eli, Pierre and Ana.
What's the status? GFM says you're no longer accepting donations? Wassup and how are things going in EQ?
We live in Charlotte, NC and have some supplies to donate but can't seem to find anyone local to donate to. Would you possibly know any advice to help us try to donate our goods?