SANTA MADRE HOMELESS SHELTER
La Antigua Guatemala
Testimonial Story of
Leonel Americo Perez Barrios
My name is Americo, I was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. When I was very little I came to Guatemala, but I never had a safe place to live. My father was an alcoholic and he gave, both my brother and I a very sad life and sadly we had to take different ways; currently my brother is living in Houston, TX.
I have the memories that when we were together, we used to sleep in the streets, our place was very close to the rail roads and wasn’t a nice place to be. Without having a safe place to stay we felt cold and hunger; we didn’t have any money to spend on food, just seeing others eating and wishing that were us and feel the flavors of food. When we were thirsty, we only could drink water from the big metal buckets that were in public restrooms.
It was really hard for us, with no one to whom we could ask for help, God is great and there was a lady who gave me job, washing the glasses, because she sold orange juice in the street, earning just a few coins, but that was something for me and it helped me a lot to come out from my hunger.
Life has been tough for me, I was never able to establish in a house and have a home, but fortunately I traveled to Antigua Guatemala, looking for other kind of life, but without studies, finding a job is not an easy thing; so, I ended up living in the streets again. One day, I heard about the Santa Madre Homeless Shelter, and I decided that I wanted to go there a ask for help!
When I first came into the Shelter, I felt like home, or the home that I never had. Everyone there were friendly and welcoming. They offered me a safe place to sleep, I ate delicious food, and I felt like if I was with my family. I will never forget that moment! Since that day, I’ve been staying there and I’m very grateful with the staff members and people that give us a nice, clean and dignify place for the homeless, like me to stay.
I’ve been receiving a special care, since many years ago, I had an accident and lost motion in my legs, for that reason I’m in a wheelchair and it’s hard for me to move around; however, my family and friends at the Shelter are always taking care of me and helping in everything I need. I earn some money by washing cars in the streets or taking a look of them while they are parked in the streets, that’s the only way that I can work; but I have no idea where I would be without the support at the Santa Madre Homeless Shelter.
There, they changed my life and I’m sure that they had changed a lot of other lives. I’m grateful and blessed to be part of this program!