We've complete our first week of work here in Mercedes where, indeed, the need is endless. We realize we can only do so much as many of the homes are in such bad repair that they deserve to be hauled off and replaced.
Last week one team of 3 men worked at this location.
The mother and five children live in this trailer. They all slept in one bed by the front door because neither door locked from the inside and she was afraid. We've replaced the door handles, painted the glass so no one can look inside and added a lock. We've also fixed the back door. For safety we installed a smoke detector and fire extinguisher.
The toilet had no seat and was leaking causing rotting of the floor. A new seat and seals were installed.
We've repaired the wall around the back end so the air conditioner could be installed.
On Friday we visited another site. In this one lives a mother and 5 children. The mother is legal as are the children but the father is not and has been incarcerated. The mother speaks little English but the children were all born here so of course are bi-lingual. The mother works two part time jobs and is doing her best. Unlike the house above, this very small trailer is clean and orderly. The children were well groomed with clean clothes and really quite adorable.
The trailer looks to be no longer than 12 to 15 feet. There are two windows with no glass. We will be fixing that situation.
There is one mattress on the floor and a pull out bed. The bathroom door is hanging by one broken hinge. The children are ages 7 to 14. The two oldest are boys and we are wondering if they sleep in the car.
The house has no electric. They have a heavy duty extension cord running from a neighboring house. They have a washer outside for the laundry. There are no trees or other shade on the property and no air conditioning in the house.
They do have cold water and sewer. However, the sewer hose is broken. The wash water lies dormant in pools next to the trailer, causing a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The roof needs taring as there is some leaking.
Our hope is to build a small shelter where they can place a picnic table for meals and to get out of the house during rain and heat. After seeing this "home" and meeting the residents I could not sleep last night thinking of ways we can help and realizing how blessed we are to live as we do.
Prayers are needed for the people of this community.