Party of 23…

A quick family update, by the numbers.

These days, there are 23 of us in Glendi and I’s orbit of family responsibility:

    -Glendi, me, and Amanecer (3)
    -Mariana (19), Ivan (16), Josue (14), Juan Jose and Jose Juan (both 10)
    -Isabel (22) and her husband, Oswaldo
    -Walter (23), his partner Gaby (23), and their newborn, Mario David (4 months)
    -Mario (26), his wife Estefany (20), and their daughter, Genesis (4)
    -Ines (37), her husband Oswaldo (40?), and their children Celeste (17), Anavi (15), Alan (12), Pamela (10), and Melany (5)

We are the complete providers for 12 of these people, and we have regular backup responsibilities for the other 11–especially regarding emergency expenses and healthcare.

In the last two years, we have lost two immediate family members–Glendi’s parents–and we have gained two babies and two new spouses/partners.

In the last year alone, beyond the health crises and deaths of Glendi’s parents, we have struggled to help our family with:

    -Adopting the four youngest siblings so they can eventually live in the U.S. with us
    -Two lay-offs and chronic unemployment
    -Violent extortion for multiple thousands of dollars (twice)
    -Robbery at knifepoint in a bus
    -A piece of rebar through a kid’s foot
    -A piece of corrugated metal stuck in a scalp (that was me!)
    -Scarlet fever
    -Life-threatening post-childbirth sepsis
    -Multiple staph infections (potentially MRSE?)
    -Ongoing type-2 diabetes
    -Stage 1 uterine cancer
    -Potentially hereditary liver problems causing systemic allergic reactions

Since I joined the family in 2007, and with the tremendous help from so many great friends and family members, our positive material impact has included:

    -Building 1 1/2 new houses on the family property
    -Building a store that ran for a year
    -Buying two used cars (the first of which was stolen at the hospital), for safer and cheaper family transport
    -Buying a motorcycle for Glendi’s brother to commute with
    -Getting internet into the house
    -Building the family’s first septic tank, shower, and two toilets (thanks to all who donated!)
    -Buying two additional plots of land for agricultural produce and our eventual school
    -Getting two family members graduated from secondary school, and one into college so far!

Sometimes it’s so easy to get lost in the details from week to week that I forget just how much we’ve done together, how much we’ve been through. Sure, a lot of this stuff is painful, but it’s all punctuated with so many hilarious and loving moments. I feel so honored and fortunate to be a part of this family, and to be able to help in the ways that I am able…which is never enough.

Currently Reading:

-Dispersing Power by Raul Zibechi