Tarpaper Shack
Terrible living confitions in Mexico

Building better lives with the poor and disadvantaged in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Away from the resort beaches, Compassionet Impact Development Canada works with impoverished families in Puerto Vallarta to help them achieve decent affordable housing, pursue education and improve their lives.

This Canadian Charitable Foundation relies on donations to purchase:

  • home-building materials
  • books for libraries
  • educational supplies
  • tuition fees to assist secondary and post secondary students and
  • funds for microenterprise loans for start-up businesses

Volunteers work alongside local Mexicans as builders, teachers and tutors; a different kind of vacation in the sun and one that creates memories while transforming lives.

Lucia and her son Israel lived in a shack and were surviving on what Lucia could sell at the second-hand market – sometimes as little as $10/week.  Israel was brain injured at birth and has a very low mental capacity, so he cannot work.  When I met Lucia in September 2013, her wood and tarpaper home had a river of mud running through it and a terrible smell of mould.  Moreover, it was built on a steep hill and she suffers from arthritis and couldn’t safely move from room to room.  I promised her she would never spend another rainy season in that shack.

Lucia and Israel

Lucia and Israel

The costs were too high for Compassionet Impact Development Canada to build her a concrete block home on her steep land so we moved Lucia and Israel into an apartment and demolished her shack. This year we will build her a more affordable steel home.

This will be our first of five steel homes in 2015. We are excited to try an alternative to the usual concrete block construction used in Puerto Vallarta.

Pedro and his family

Pedro and his family

Pedro is a triple amputee who was electrocuted in a workplace accident four years ago at the age of 20. He lost both legs and one arm.

Pedro and his wife Angelica have a son, Jesus, aged 4. They live in a rented two-room apartment that is not accessible for Pedro. Angelica must carry him to the bathroom and to the bedroom. She told me in a practical voice that “…he doesn’t weigh very much.”

When I met Pedro in April 2014, I encountered a young man determined to make a life for himself and his family despite his terrible injuries. He told me that while he was in the hospital after the accident he knew he should probably have died. But he didn’t die, so he realized that God has a purpose for him. Without any government help to adapt his abilities or support his family he drives himself to work at his ‘corner’ in Old Town selling candies from his wheelchair, meeting his customers with an inspiring smile and a readiness for conversation.

Compassionet Impact Development Canada will build Pedro and his family an accessible home on land to be paid for by a U.S. donor. The home will cost about $12,000. Owning a safe, accessible home will mean Pedro is no longer paying his 1,000 pesos/month rent, he will have more independence in his own home and relieve a lot of stress for Angelica.