The worst rains in 40 years have poured down on Colombia and Venezuela in the last days of November and early December 2010, forcing more than 100,000 people from their homes. Barlovento (Venezuela) was one of the hardest hit areas. Huge amounts of water poured into the area causing enormous flooding. Centro Madre’s land was totally flooded waist-deep, but the house, which is slightly higher, remained dry. Eight children were brought to stay with us by their parents from the villages where many houses were flooded.
We thought the situation would improve as the rainfall decreased, but then the dam in El Valle del Tuy released water, so the water levels rose higher. Electricity was cut since November 27. We somehow managed to periodically charge our cellular phones with the battery of our jeep. Because we could not use the electric pumps, we collected rainwater. Beside cooking and cleaning without running water for 14 people in the house, we kept the children busy with different activities such as games, reading, a yoga class by Melqui and a “massage class” by Marina, our volunteer from the Canary Islands. Still the stress of being without their parents and the constant threat of flooding took its toll and some got sick. The road to San José has been cut and will take time before it can be fixed. Finally, after ten days, electricity has been restored and the water is residing.
Floods brought snakes to our land. Our dog Kayala, very sweet and (half) rotweiler, always protected us with her size and loud bark. This time she gave her life while defending us from a big poisonous snake that had entered the compound around the house. We are very sad she is gone.
Flood water is unclean water and brings diseases. As people in the flooded areas have little access to clean water, they use it for bathing and washing clothes which cause skin problems and intestinal disease. We distributed to the villagers 50 small bottles of neem oil that we had in stock. Neem oil is an excellent natural medicine against skin problems, gum problems, joint pain etc. After the flood waters have gone down, we will distribute many more.
It is usually the poor that suffer the most in these natural disasters. The people in the villages, who already have so little, lose practically everything. The cacao harvest of November to January has been lost. Their traditional crops of plantain, casaba, corn, papaya, ocumo and ñame have all been destroyed. For many villagers in the month of December they can earn something extra by selling plantain leaves that people buy to wrap their hallacas. Not this year though. Of the villages nearest to Center Madre the worst affected are El Tesoro, La Guairita, Los Galpones, Madre Vieja, and Agua Clara, and are all in need of our help.
Please help us to help them with donations in cash or kind. Anything you can give can be of use. Food stuffs and articles for personal hygiene and house cleaning are very needed in these difficult times. Also diapers, towels, sheets and mattresses. Donations in cash and kind will be gratefully accepted.
For more information please call: 00.58.416.400.3628, 00.58.234.511.8549