|Meeting with the St. Julien family. This picture is very kind. The house looks much better from the outside than it does from the inside!|
Jeany St. Julien and her husband have four children, ranging in age from eight to twenty-one. I could relate to that because I also grew up in a family of six. I could not relate to their living conditions.
“Wow. Wow. Wow,” Amber kept saying as we toured the house.
“It looks worse from the inside than it does from the outside, doesn’t it?” I questioned.
“Yeah, it does!” Amber said, still showing signs of shock. “Wow. Wow. Wow. Crazy.”
|Posing with Jeany St. Julien and three of her children in front of their current home. They will be one of the next five families to receive a new home in the Village of Joy.|
The mud was beginning to wash away in some places, exposing the house’s stick frame. When we looked up at the ceiling, we saw daylight coming through. We all knew that anywhere we could see light meant water when it rains. In an attempt to keep their meager belongings dry, the St. Julien family strung a thin, plastic table cloth across the ceiling to help catch and divert the rain. The water flows to the center and empties onto the ground through a hole they cut into the table cloth.
The table cloth hung very low, requiring us to duck as we walked through the room. Jeany told us it has a tendency to fall down when it rains, so they frequently have to rehang it. In addition, the family still has to crowd together in one spot to avoid getting wet. It’s certainly not a perfect solution, but the table cloth does help keep some of their possessions drier than they would otherwise be.
“I can’t imagine,” Amber told me, her voice wavering slightly as she thought about it. “I mean...twelve years. They’ve lived like this for twelve years. You look up and see daylight, and you know that means water.”
“I know,” I responded. “You wouldn’t want to live like this for twelve days.”
“No, never!” Amber replied. “Some of these kids, this is all they know.” Amber has a big heart for children, and the thought of them living like this troubled her.
Despite living in this house for twelve years, the St. Julien family does not have any special attachment to it. “The new house will give us a new life,” Jeany told us.
Can you imagine living this life? The St. Julien family has lived in these terrible conditions for more than twelve years. Let’s not make them wait any longer. In fact, let’s not make any of the families in the Village of Joy wait any longer to receive hope for a better future. Please donate now so we can complete this project before the end of the year.
Click here to Help 40 Families Escape Extreme Poverty.
All donations are tax-deductible, and 100% of all money donated goes directly to the Village of Joy project.