Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chile: 10 days later

I don't know who has heard what from the media's perspective, but I can say that the reality is settling in and now everyone in Chile is having to evaluate how to move forward at this time. Before I mention details about our friends and family, I want to say that many people south of where my family lives have lost everything. In addition to major destruction due to the earthquake, a huge tsunami leveled coastal towns and took the lives of many many people that live south of Santiago. Fortunately, our family does not live in that region (Concepcion and surrounding towns), and I do not want to ignore the harsh reality that others are experiencing, but on this blog I will be focusing primarily on our friends and family in Santiago & Valparaiso and the needs that they face. If we were to pull together a large sum of money that exceeded our family's needs, then we would be excited to be able to support efforts to care for those in the south. If you are interested in helping us help our family and friends, please click on the link below:

Please understand that any money sent to the above account is not tax-deductible and is simply a gift. If you would like to send a donation via snail mail, you can make checks payable to "Cabrera's Chile Relief Fund" and mail them to us at 5728 Sylvan Drive Columbia, SC 29206. Also, if you'd like to make a tax-deductible sizable donation ($500+), make checks out to "Radius Church" and mail to us at the above-mentioned address.

Santiago and Valparaiso:

This is a picture of our cousin's apartment building.

You know, I thought that the first two days were hard because of the fear and shock of what had happened. It turns out that about 7 days out was when I was feeling the worst about it all. That is when we started getting desperate phone calls. In one week, my mother-in-law's two month supply of bread, milk, and produce had been distributed to everyone in their neighborhood that had no way of getting food or drink. As thankful as we were that they had the food to hand out, the reality hits that those products were their income for the next two months. Their small business now has no product to do business with and there is no money to invest in more products to sell. Even their ice cream machine broke in the quake (it's summer there now and they sell ice cream in the summer).

My brother-in-law operates two Internet cafes for his family's income and due to the damaged computers, loss of grocery products (looting), and intermittent electricity/Internet service, he has been nearly unable to open shop. As any small business owner knows, when you don't work, you don't make money, and pretty soon you're wondering how you're going to buy groceries. Picture of a local store.

In another situation, we have some close friends that were sleeping outside because their neighborhood was roped off due to unsafe conditions and risk of homes collapsing. On one hand, the city is picking up the pieces and Santiago looks like it's well on it's way to "life as normal", but although stores may be open and people may start to go back to work, life is far from normal.

In Chile, homeowners insurance and small business insurance are pretty non-existent. All of our family and friends have cracked roofs and cracks in their walls. Many had debris fall on their cars (auto insurance also not common), and small-business owners can't just file a claim for their loss like they could here. We hope to be able to help them make some repairs to their homes. David has hopes of being able to help them repair roofs and patch walls with the money that people give as a gift to help us help our family and friends. Summer is ending in Chile and Spring and Winter, the rainy seasons, are around the corner. We hope to be able to help with their roofs before the rain comes. Picture of our cousin's wall.

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