Paquito is a 70-year-old widow who lives on her own in Trujillo, Peru. Her children have their own families and have moved away to find work.
She lives in a small house, made of adobe (mud) bricks. She had been planning renovations to her house, as the kitchen in particular was not very well built.
Volunteers in the community had warned Paquito that the rains were coming and she might be in danger. She had prepared a bag containing her important documents and some clothes, but was very scared. It had been raining for days.
no food or light
The torrential flood waters hit Paquito’s house and swept away her kitchen. Neighbours came to help, but there was little that could be done to salvage the house.
‘We really didn’t know what we were going to do. We were in the middle of the water – mud, bricks, everything was under water. My home was just a mass of mud and there was no roof.
There was a house across the street that was higher and safe. Paquito and her neighbours went there to seek shelter.
‘For three days we had no food and no light, and didn’t know what was going to happen. We all slept under one big piece of plastic and I was very scared.’
Once the floodwaters subsided, Paquito returned to her house to find it buried in mud. Large parts of it were completely destroyed, as the mud bricks had melted under the force of the floodwaters.
RELIEF AT LAST
Paquito received a ShelterKit containing a tarpaulin and the essential tools she needed to rebuild her home. She also received a ShelterBox containing aid items including a mosquito net, solar lights and water carriers.
For the next three weeks, Paquito stayed with her neighbour Maria whilst the community helped to rebuild her home. The ShelterKit has been used to provide a new roof for Paquito’s house and her neighbours also rebuilt the walls using concrete plaster so that they will be stronger.
Paquito makes beautiful hand crocheted blankets which she sells at the market. With the money she makes from selling them, she is buying new bricks to extend her home and make a better kitchen.
She said: ‘I’m keeping the box and all of the items that I received as a memento. I still use all of the items, they are very useful, and the box is important to me. I keep it safe and I know that it is there, if I need to use it again. It makes me feel secure.’