Geovana stands in a street in Campur

When we needed them most

“We had no chance to take shelter or to protect ourselves because it was something completely unexpected,” says Geovana Lucrecia of the hurricane that brought flooding and devastation to Guatemala.

Geovana is a 49-year-old mother of two girls from Campur Central, a landlocked town surrounded by hills and lush forests. As a widow, she is the sole provider for her family.

Before the hurricane, Geovana’s main source of income was door-to-door sales of ice cream, as well as a stall she maintained with ice cream in her home. Additionally, she had ducks and chickens which she tended with her eldest daughter.

Due to the flooding, Geovana lost her house and her livelihood.

Because of a lot of misinformation in the aftermath of the storm, Geovana kept relocating, first finding shelter with a neighbour, then living with a relative before returning to the community shelter in Campur where she was told aid would arrive.

It was during this time that her refrigerator and supplies for her ice cream business were stolen. “While we weren’t home, people took advantage of the situation to steal what we had at home,” she says.

Plan International, with support from the Humanitarian Coalition and the Government of Canada, came to Campur and helped people including Geovana with basic necessities, money transfers and psychosocial support.

“Plan International has supported us a lot during the last few months,” she says. “We have received hygiene kits, cleaning kits, kitchen kits, among others.

“When I received the money transfers, I used part of it for my medicines, and the other part to reactivate my ice cream business.

“The psychosocial support workshops that we have been attending with the children have been very useful. We learned how to treat the children, and we realized how the emergency affected them psychologically.”

She concludes by affirming, “When we needed them the most, they were here.”