Meet the Iriarte - Cabello Family

Calixta (46) and Demetrio (50) are hardworking farmers in Mizque, Bolivia, who have worked most of their life for what they have today. They currently live in a shack with nine of their kids and grandchildren.

Calixta and Demetrio raised their eight children in this house. Two of their eldest children, Basilia and Jovana, migrated to the city in search of better living conditions. Unfortunately, Jovana passed away in a tragic accident six months ago. Her son was abandoned by his father, and has lived with Calixta and Demetrio ever since. Basilia also has two children, who live with her parents while she works to provide for them.

The family lives in a tan mudbrick home, which sits in a dusty clearing among dry brush. Concrete has been hastily smeared around their doorless entrance to reinforce the eroding mudbricks. The house has a single uncovered window, which not only limits the amount of light within the home, but also allows wind and rain to wreak havoc on the family’s belongings. Marisol (19), Gabriela (17), Mayer (16), Juan (13), Carolina (11), Luz Maria (2), Evelin (6), Janet (4), and Denni (5) share two narrow beds, which sit less than a foot off the ground and take up most of the home’s floor. In this room, there are no windows. To conserve space, cloth bags and blankets are hung from the walls.

Outside, the family keeps belongings that can’t fit into their home, including tin cookware and gasoline containers, used to collect water. Stray rocks, branches, and rags litter the area. A hoodie and wide-brim hat hang from a nearby tree, where they can dry in the sun.

Both Calixta and Demetrio are sick with Chagas, an insect-inflicted illness that weakens the heart and central nervous system. Chagas is chronic, and causes heart failure if improperly treated. The disease is common in damp environments, as such areas are likely to attract insects. The home’s leaky roof and open window often create damp conditions, and the lack of light makes it difficult for the house to dry.

Calixta and Demetrio hope for their children to stay in Mizque, lending a hand in fields as farmers and taking care of the couple as they grow older. However, the family does not have enough space to accommodate nine growing children and grandchildren. With your help, we can provide the Cabello-Iriarte family a larger, weatherproof home to provide security, support health, and keep the family together.