Erik, our host, begins a conversation with Isabel, who runs the kitchen. He is inquiring how things are going with the breakfast program. Part of his job is to discover what the community needs, as he, along with his parents, Betsy and Howard, run Karitas, the foundation which built this kitchen when mothers expressed concern about kids not getting a proper breakfast.
After our visit Erik leads us on a walk to the community’s restored well –
but first he waves and smiles at Rosa, across the way, standing in her doorway.
We pass small abarottes (grocery stores) and tables with fruit and vegetables for sale. Most houses are quite simple – some, just concrete blocks, others are painted or adobe. Although this is a squatter’s settlement it is well established after almost 30 years with approximately 10,000 people living here. The government regularly offers to move the inhabitants to other, perhaps better homes, on the outskirts of the city – but these folks don’t want to leave.