Abundio and his granddaughter and great-granddaughter opening the door of their new house

In the afternoon of September 11th, 2017, Abundio Pérez was working in the field like any other day near Hueyapán, in Morelos, Mexico. Suddenly, he heard a frightening thunder and the earth started to comb and to break. He tried to run, but the tremor threw him to the ground. For a moment, he thought that the Popocatépelt volcano, on which foothills is Hueyapán, had erupted. He soon realised that it was a strong earthquake.

After the fright, we ran toward his house. On his way, he realised that the dome and part of the Church towers had fallen, people were screaming, and many houses were destroyed. He kept on going hastily thinking only on his granddaughter and great-granddaughter.

When we arrived, his house was gone. The walls became dust and the tin-roof cracked. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The efforts of so many years and sacrifices erased. His granddaughter, feeling the earthquake, ran to the school to pick up her child. When the girls arrived, they found Abundio crying among the ruins.

Some neighbours less affected, ran to assist them and to offer their houses. For four months, Abundio and the girls couldn’t recover. He kept working on the field and his granddaughter moved to the state capital to work in domestic service and save some money for the house, leaving her child with the neighbours.

One day in December, the Vincentian Family Volunteers and the Corazones por Mexico Foundation arrived in Hueyapán. They explained to him they wanted to support families affected by the earthquake and the local priest had mentioned his situation. That way, Abundio became one of the beneficiaries of the “13 Houses” Campaign project “Houses for Hueyapán”, where eight different branches of the Mexican Vincentian Family joined efforts. Some local men also learnt masonry and they helped to make the project a reality.

In March 2018, the first four families moved to the new houses, among them Abundio and the girls. He got a brick house, not a mud one, with a proper roof, three rooms, a toilet with drain, kitchenette and a water boiler. Despite having lost all hope of having a home again, thanks to the “13 Houses” Campaign the combined work of the Vincentian branches, Abundio now lives under a roof, and he can provide her great-granddaughter with a place to grow up