“My name is Daisy Marilú Chavac Camey. I am 28 years old, and I am from San Raymundo Sacatepéquez”. Daisy’s words echo around us. We are in the Santa María Tonichaj hamlet, from the township of San Pedro Carchá, Alta Verapaz, in approximately 370 kilometers from the land where she was born.
Everything around us seems in chaos: fallen trees, broken roads, destroyed crops, and the brown color of the mud still prevails in the houses around; This is all due to the passage of hurricanes Eta and Iota, which affected the entire country and left greater consequences in the departments of Alta Verapaz and Izabal.
Daisy has been living here since she got married. She’s Kaqchikel, and she does not fully master the local language, Q’eqchi’. Her family is integrated by her husband and two children, where the youngest is still at an age where he has to be carried in arms, so she constantly rocks him as we speak. “I came to make a family with my husband” she says. It was the first time she had to start from scratch.
But now, after the hurricanes, starting from scratch is their only alternative.
The day the floods started, it was around 5 PM when we saw how the water level begin to rise, so we started to take everything we could, but most of our things were left behind, such as our beds and kitchen utensils
The rains had started in the morning, causing rivers to overflow and flood dozens of communities, including Santa María Tonicaj. At first, Daisy and her family tried to hide from it at her in-laws’ house, but eventually they also had to abandon it and take refuge in one of the shelters that had been set up.
The shelter was temporary, and now they must go back to a house that the rain washed away. “We need blankets, kitchen supplies, but the most important thing is to get our house back because we lost it”.
Daisy’s story seems to tell the whole community’s experience, as the emergency affected them equally. CARE Guatemala supported those families with food and hygiene and safety supplies to avoid the spread of COVID-19. However, due to the magnitude of the problem, families need immediate and medium-term support to recover their means of subsistence.
“We have been through hard times”, Daisy finishes, while staring at the results the hurricanes left, while she continued to steadily rock her younger child.