Text and photos by John Keeble
Rubi Valeria Vera Cusme has been living in a tent – a frame with recycled advertising banners stretched over it – for nearly a year. But now she is moving into a small, two-storey wood-frame house being built for her on her parent’s land.
The ground floor is little bigger than a garden room in more affluent countries, but it is changing everything for her. It is a sign that she can have a good life instead of being kept at the bottom of her society.
“I have nowhere to live and so they are building it for me,” she said as she sat in her brother’s one-room home on the outskirts of Canoa. “It will help me live a better life and give me more independence. I want to start a business – a restaurant.”
Outside, the sound of hammering and sawing added a soundtrack to Rubi’s excitement. “They” were the volunteers of Proyecto Saman. And they were getting on with the building, including a bathroom that will be shared by her family living around her.
Rubi said that most people in Canoa are grateful for the help that they had received from many organizations and individuals as they struggle to recover from the disaster.
“The majority of people see a good future for Canoa,” she said. “They see the village growing because of all the help it is receiving and because of the efforts of the people themselves.”