September 2019 Family of the Month

Jon’s Family

Four-year old Jon is still too little to join his five brothers on the long walk to school each day, but he is eagerly looking forward to next year when he can dress in a white shirt, long pants, and put on his first pair of real shoes.He and his family live in a two-room corrugated tin house held together with bamboo strips. Only the door lets in fresh air and light during the day. The dirt floor is uneven and becomes muddy during the rainy season even where the tin and tarp roof doesn’t leak. With no source of running water indoors, showering and other hygiene activities are difficult. And without electricity bedtime comes early for this family.Jon’s mom cooks in an outdoor shack on a wood stove. The cauldron on the open fire goes from sun-up to sundown cooking beans, rice and root vegetables for this hungry household. Occasionally an old hen becomes the prized centerpiece of the meal. Everything and everyone smells like the campfire. The family is oblivious to the smoke and its hazard to their current and long-term health.Jon’s dad is a machete worker just as his own father was. Sometimes he helps neighbors harvest sugar cane, chayote or tomatoes. Now that his oldest son, Adrian, will pass the sixth grade in December and will no longer be required to attend school, he and his father will soon work together in the fields.Jon’s family illustrates why Buenos Vecinos de Boquete is so important to this community. There is little support from the government for those who are near or at the poverty level. The family has made little progress toward a better future for the boys, but Buenos Vecinos has been a source of encouragement and monthly supplemental food, a consistent and dependable lifeline. BVB supplements the food store for this family and almost a hundred others every month.

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