Meet Luis and Evelina, a beautiful, hard working couple that lives at the Saman camp and, with your help, is set to have a stable home for the first time in their lives this year. Luis and Evelina are victims of the April 2016 earthquake and we want to build them a place they can truly call home. Are you with us?
Luis Arias and Evelina Sambrano have been with Proyecto Samán from the very beginning. Similar to many of the families that sought out Proyecto Samán for help, Luis and Evelina’s struggles did not begin with the earthquake; actually, Luis and Evelina have both spent the majority of their lives dealing with poverty, abuse, and a lack of security, and the earthquake only further exacerbated these issues.
A Life of Hardships
In her own words, Evelina has never had the opportunity to be happy. From a very young age, she suffered from severe abuse by her father. Then, she fell pregnant as a young teenager and was forced to discontinue her education and get married. Once married, she then suffered through abuse from her first husband until one day she could no longer take it and left. After leaving her first husband, she met Luis, got married to him, and they had two children.
Similarly, Luis suffered from a childhood of abuse. Having no parents to take care of him, Luis was sent to live with a cousin who essentially enslaved him; he was forced to spend entire days working and was only fed a single plantain per day. This same cousin later tried to sue Luis, saying that he owed him money for having “taken care of him” while he grew up. Luis then joined the military, and to this day he says that his days in the military were some of the best days of his life because it was the only time he had ever been fed regularly. Luis met Evelina after having left the military, and together, Luis, Evelina, and their children have been doing whatever it takes to survive since, struggling without a stable job, land, or home.
April 16, 2016
When the earthquake struck in April of 2016, Luis and Evelina had been taking care of and living in a government official’s house. They were supposed to have received payments for their care of the house, but instead were scammed and forced to sign receipts saying that they were being paid when in reality, they never received a single payment. The day after the earthquake, Luis filed all of the paperwork for the repair of the official’s house, called the official and told him, and was told that he and Evelina had until the next day to move out of the house. Having nowhere to go and very little money, Luis and Evelina turned to the streets. They were found by volunteers from Proyecto Samán shortly thereafter, living underneath a plastic roof that they had made with every single one of their belongings in the bushes behind them.
Since this moment of despair, both Luis and Evelina have played important roles in the construction and maintenance of the camp. Currently, Luis and Evelina are in charge of the entire water and sanitation system at Samán. Luis and Evelina love being a part of the Samán community, but are very much hoping to have the opportunity to build a home on the property since for the last year they have been living in a tent. Both Luis and Evelina are exhausted from spending their lives in uncertainty, and are so excited for this new house as it will give them the stability that they have spent their whole lives searching for.
What a Home Would Mean to Luis and Evelina
All Luis and Evelina have ever wanted is security – to know that they’re going to have a roof over their heads and food to eat the next day. Samán has, for the first time in their lives, provided them with hope for a better future. Samán has shown Luis and Evelina what it means to be a part of a community that supports them. By simply having the opportunity to build a house on this property, Luis and Evelina are ensuring that their children will never have to suffer the hardships of instability that they did. For Luis and Evelina, a new house is not simply a house; a new house is a new future – for them, for their children, and for generations of their family to come.