A Love Story
Love in Action Orphanage started on a mountain in a potter’s shed. It took love and six years to renovate that shed, and eventually move the orphanage in 2008 off the mountain to a bigger better place on Pedro Moreno in Chapala.
The building on the mountain stood empty for two years, broken into by scavengers and squatters. The rooms that once housed and protected children were being violated.
In 2010, a group decided to re-activate that old building in Tepehua, into a Community Service Center where the poor could go for food, counseling, help of any kind.
Renovations began with generous donations and by November of 2010, it was ready to start a Soup Kitchen. This was to introduce the volunteers to the villagers and to gain their trust. Stasia Neilson helped the people understand the drill. Volunteers stepped forward to man the kitchen under the supervision of Susan Netherton, master chef. Each Friday session saw more and more and finally we reached 200 women and children. A donation came from a gentleman of 600 pesos once a week for the meals on Friday— for one year. Dried food was donated by a Mexican Company called ITACATE, enough for a year.
The program was assured, at least for one year. Then came counseling for the mothers every Monday, which created the need for a nursery for the children the women couldn’t leave at home. Donations of clothing came in and we gave out tickets to every woman who registered her family with us to go “shopping” free once a week for their families.
Once they are registered we can help get their children into school…but it looks as though our nursery may have to turn into a pre-school center as most of the children have never been to school before, nor have they been registered at birth, which is a requirement for school.
The mortality rate for the babies born at home is high, not just for the child but for the mothers, who sometimes are children themselves. Now, we need a free clinic. With donations and the help of a company called C.U.R.E, in mid-November our doors will open to the public, with three doctors standing by to help the people—but they will have to be registered with the Tepehua Community Center. DIF has already agreed to bring the free inoculation for the children to the Tepehua Community Center, instead of the children going to them, which is impossible for most of these families.
Gradually we are training the local women to take responsibility. We have four training for the Soup Kitchen now. More will be trained for the nursery.
Tepehua is one of the poorest barrios in Jalisco, its roads once littered with garbage. So a program was started to teach them there is money in trash. Now the neighborhood is looking better, as the young and old bag the trash and bring it to the Center where it is weighed. A volunteer takes it to the bone yard, and the villagers get their money. A village helping itself.
We are still young, but the Center is proving a huge need and desire for change. Change in the way they treat children and family, change in keeping self-pride. Tepehua is now a separate AC (non-profit organization), able to give receipts for donations. This is a program to prevent families from breaking apart, showing families a better way, hoping to teach the young teens on the threshold of moving into the work force. Our aim next year is for workshops to teach sewing, cooking, woodwork, hydroponic gardening, etc.
Rotary has just put on solar panels for water heating and purification, for which we thank them. We can now start a family shower program, where those with no water in their homes can come for hot showers at least once a week, under the supervision of the clinic.
Should you wish to join in this program, please call Moonie 763-5126, president or Susan Netherton, vice president 766-3118, or Stasia Neilson, Director 765-2312.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com