Marileyda Alcántara and her husband Aquiles Mora have lived their whole lives in our partner community of La Guama, DR. They have nine children who live with them: Angelina, 24, Michael, 22, Obieris, 20, Morelys, 18, Diabelys, 15, Mariela, 13, Ramen, 10, and Cleydis, 3.
This family relies entirely on agriculture to survive; they plant pigeon peas, beans, corn, yucca, and other root vegetables. They also raise pigs and chickens for the family’s consumption. All of the children work in the fields when they are not attending school. The two eldest boys, Michael and Obieris, had to leave school after the 4th grade to help their father full-time on the farm.
Their old home of 19 years was constructed out of rotten wood boards and zinc with a dirt floor and was almost falling down. In February, they received a new Bridges home and are extremely thankful. Alquiles says, “We are living in much better conditions thanks to God and to Bridges and the volunteers who came to build my house. It is such kindness that you all have shown me and I am proud of my home now. It’s a safe place for my children to grow.”
Aquiles is especially grateful for the new home because he recently had a stroke followed by surgery. Though he is doing much better, his leg and his arm on his right side have not recovered well and he is using crutches to walk. After having surgery, Aquiles spent about a week in the hospital and was happy to be able to return to a more comfortable home. He says, “I hope to live happily in this home as long as I live.”
Though his oldest children did not complete their schooling, Aquiles hopes that his younger children will continue their studies. Diabelys, 15, wants to be a civil engineer and Mariela, 13, wants to be a doctor. Aquiles says, “I hope they will continue their studies. I want my children to be able to maintain themselves and live better than I did.”