All the materials have to be carried up manually along the mountain goat-track. Our architect has contracted half a dozen Venezuelan refugees to do the donkey work. (Poor devils. I’ve authorised him to double their wages for this part of the job.)
It was in the parish of Saints Columban and Francis Xavier on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, that Fr John met Josè and eventually his brother David who has been confined to a wheelchair for almost all of his life. Note: Josè is David’s full time carer.
When asked why Josè and his parents never wheeled David to church, especially when they had their annual Mass for the sick, Josè said “Come and see why.”
It soon became clear why David was never brought to church. The family was desperately poor, but more to the point, their flimsy two-room wooden house clung precariously to the side of a hill.
The article subsequently ran in the Irish Far East and the USA Columban Mission Magazine and resulted in a renovated home and much more.
Fr John Boles recently wrote …
You might recall that earlier this year an article of mine entitled, “A tale of two brothers” was published in The Far East describing how Josè Ayala dedicated much of his time to caring for his severely disabled brother David.
To my surprise, this resulted in an outpouring of generosity from many of our readers, which allowed us to put together a scheme to help Josè and David, and their parents, Apolonio and Yolanda.
Assessment by professional staff at Manuel Duato Special Needs School
Some of you will already know that the Columbans have been heavily involved in Manuel Duato Special Needs School in Peru since its foundation more than 40 years ago. Through this connection, they were able to arrange for staff at the school – a social worker and physiotherapist to visit David and his family and to assess his needs.
Here are the first photos of the Ayala house rebuilding, featuring Yours Truly doing an inspection. I’ve increased the budget to cover the installation of a proper toilet. (As you can see, the present facility falls somewhat short of statutory health and hygiene standards.)
They reported that David lives in extreme poverty and suffers from multiple disabilities (some of which are so severe that it is remarkable that he has survived so long). David requires various medical examinations and courses of treatment, the most urgent being for his epilepsy. To receive the treatment David needed a ‘state identity card’ which was addressed and approved. A new orthopaedic bed was sourced and a new purpose-built wheel chair too. Regrettably, it was not feasible for David to attend an ‘afternoon club’ organised by the school, but the staff pay regular visits to the family to help bring continuing improvements to David’s care.
Moving David and his family to a new home on flat ground
This was what many of you wished to achieve for the family, so that David can leave the house and participate in the parish and wider community. After investigations, the Columbans began working with an architect to re-build their house using a ‘pre-fabricated’ construction that, if the family were to move in the future, it could be taken with them.
About the house – Fr John said “nearly there with the house. I was hoping it’d be finished before I left Lima for my sabbatical but the final touches still need to be done.
Nevertheless, the near-finished product is impressive. The floor is laid, walls built and roof installed. We’ve done them a nice bathroom, laundry area and kitchen sink. There’ll be two bedrooms. Doorways have been made wide enough to let David’s wheelchair get through them alright.
José and Mum Yolanda came over to inspect the premises and have their photos taken with me. They were effusive in their gratitude to all concerned. David was sleeping so we didn’t wheel him down for the occasion.”
Here are the final photos of the Ayalas’ new house, featuring David and his Mum, Yolanda, as they move into their new home. The family were apparently fulsome in their gratitude to all concerned in the money-raising campaign. Photos: © Fr John Boles
Supporting Josès education
David’s brother Josè has been keen to pursue third-level education and has decided to build on his experience as a catechist by becoming a Religious Education teacher. He has been accepted by a local Catholic university on a half scholarship. This is excellent news and he has the full support of his parents.
The donations towards this are being managed by a ‘foundation’ set up by Columban Fr Ed O’Connell and managed by the Director of Manuel Duato School, which has many years’ experience of supporting young people who are also parish catechists through third-level education.
With many thanks.
Columban Fr John Boles has worked in South America for over 20 years and is currently on sabbatical.
Listen to Tale of two brothers continues
- Read more from The Far East, January/February 2019