Gerardo is a twenty-year-old man living in Tijuana with his family. In their home lives his mother, father, five siblings, his uncle, two cousins and one nephew.
Gerardo was not able to continue his education after finishing high school because his family needed money. So he began working in a factory that builds TVs and now earns about 1400 pesos a week [$73]. He would need to work for 12 weeks to afford the same televisions that he builds.
Although he could not continue his education after high school, he now has the opportunity to do so: "I'm going to school on Saturdays all the way in Tecate. I'm studying Development and Public Transportation Planning. I want to be able to get a better job."
Gerardo’s younger brother, Uriel, was born with a disability that also affected his legs.
"We say, my mother is a miracle. She shouldn't be here. She had a heart attack while she was pregnant with Uriel and she was pronounced dead, but then she came back to life. Unfortunately, my brother's development suffered." He has since been approved to have corrective surgery in Tijuana that will eventually enable him to walk.
The recent El Niño rains in January were incredibly disruptive in Gerardo’s community. The whole area was shut down. Buses couldn’t get in or out and Gerardo and his neighbors feared losing their jobs. Walking down muddy hills proved impossible. Trash collection stalled making the piles of garbage run down the street on muddy rivers, polluting their watershed.
Over New Year’s, a group from California came to build hope, and Gerardo and his family received a new Amor home. And although their old house became flooded, they were able to stay warm and dry in their new Amor home.
"I'm happy we had the [Amor] house. We've been able to stay dry and warm. I was worried for Uriel because his feet hurt him when the temperature drops, but he seems happy."
Every Amor home built provides hope to families living in extreme poverty.
And now, Gerardo owns a plot of land of his own where he hopes to build his own home one day.