Homeless Receive Affection (El Vigia, 1/20/13 by Montserrat Buendia)

Ensenada, BC - At least 2,000 people living on the street attended the 4th Festival for Indigents organized by the CUMI Foundation, a civil association dedicated to benefit those who are homeless. The festival was in the sports field "Antonio Palacios Rodríguez", where homeless people attended and received food, shelter, personal items and even sincere hugs from CUMI members.

Gerardo Ramírez, Coordinator of the Festival, said that indigents are in Ensenada, either under bridges, in distant colonies or areas where they can have shelter from the heat or cold, but none have a fixed home. He said that annually, CUMI conducts this work to give them a day of food, security, clean clothes and activities to benefit their health with medical and dental exams, hair cuts, as well as legal and psychological assistance.

Subsequent to a study done by volunteer psychologists, they will define who is in Ensenada or comes from other entities or countries and those who do not have documents such as birth certificates granting them legal status at any given time. The Coordinator added that so far only one person, named Angel, has managed to recover from poverty. He now works and has been involved in Christian service to help others by his example.

"Our goal would be to reintegrate everyone, but little by little we will succeed. We are analyzing the possibility of opening a shelter for homeless people, where they could receive this same thing not every year but on a permanent basis," said Ramirez.

For its part the Secretary of Municipal Social Development (Sedesom), Marco Antonio Novelo Osuna, said on behalf of the Mayor Enrique Pelayo Torres, "they are not alone", there are already plans to meet their needs. The official emphasized that the plan is to make a hostel, which will be reviewed on Monday along with members of CUMI, however nothing more is known as it is not yet a defined project. After that, they will review what lands might work to house the indigent, which is planned to have bathrooms, kitchen, beds, food and other services.

Novelo Osuna expressed his appreciation and thanks to the CUMI Foundation by actively contributing to benefit the community, since they not only provide this massive festival, but feed hundreds of homeless people weekly. Pastor Samuel Acosta offered words of comfort to the attendees, who said that his life changed because there are organizations like CUMI that can help them get ahead. To those who suffer, for example, with problems of addiction to drugs and/or alcohol CUMI offers the opportunity to clean your body, mind and heart in rehabilitation centers. http://www.elvigia.net/noticia/festival-para-indigentes

Homeless Seek Better Life (El Vigia, 1/20/13 by Benjamin Pacheco)

Ensenada, BC - Juan Manuel was going to cross the border when they tore down the "Twin Towers" in New York. Manuel arrived from Chiapas asking for rides in trailers on the way; and Fernando walked along "stopping on the beach of La Paz". They, like hundreds of people with limited resources, met yesterday at the Festival for the Indigent at Deportivo Antonio Palacios while waiting for free haircuts taking the time to share adventures and sadness.

Shortly before, they had entered by a side door, where they were greeted by members of the CUMI Foundation ("Back to Life" in Aramaic), who welcomed and gave them brotherly hugs. Despite the heat of midday, they avoided removing their jackets or hats. They also held onto their scarce belongings. They were silent, with eyes directed at the floor or simply turning elsewhere.

Fernando is from Puebla and arrived at the port on December 31. He was already in Ensenada five months ago but decided to "turn around" for La Paz, Baja California Sur. He is a gardener and stays in the hostel San Vicente. He confesses that he used to drink every day, until he decided to "replace the bottle cap". He had a sort of wandering life but now he seeks to settle. "Something permanent, I want to get a trade. Stop taking and have more chances. Thank God now I don't drink," he expressed.

Manuel’s accent betrays him until I mentioned his place of origin: Chiapas. He is 35 years old and seems a true adventurer with a spirit that has led him to explore different cities of the Republic. He was walking with friends. "Hitching and riding trailers. I arrived six years ago. I was also in Sonora", and also says he is a bricklayer. Manuel wants more stability in his life, to count on social security, a permanent job, and work as an assistant in a restaurant. "I have not worked normal. For days; for rent and nothing more", he explains.

Juan Manuel was born in Guadalajara and is 30 years old. By the tone of his voice he has determination. "Before the Twin Towers, I was intended to cross into the United States, but it was a very difficult situation and they closed the border. I tried to cross through the hills, but it didn’t go well", he recalls. The man attributed his problems to the fact that he has given in to "a little evil", to "misconduct" involving drinking and other situations. What most concerns him at this time is that he has no official identity documents. "The mere truth sometimes I am just collecting cans. I'm living in the street. I can not get a job because if any ask for papers and papers I am unable to make. My skill is as a waiter. I wish had my papers, or a woman, or a house or anything. I had a good position", he says.

The men are silent upon the arrival of one of the members of the Foundation. She tells them that there is little time to cut hair. They are seated and undeterred to continue waiting in the sunshine.

Willie Baldo Martínez Aldaco, a general coordinator of the 4th edition of the Festival of the Indigent, explained the intention is to provide a day of entertainment to the indigent and poor people. In the four years of the festival, they have registered an average of a thousand attendees who receive blankets, winter clothing, consultations of various kinds and even food. "The idea is to give them a party as in their condition have only day to day survival and hardly have time for festivities. The vision is to make them a party", he said.

The indigent received attention such as first aid, prayer, dental hygiene, legal, psychological and job counseling, as well as guidance on rehabilitation centers. At the end they got a backpack with a blanket, gloves, a scarf, a hat and food.

Martinez Aldaco recalled that the festival is an initiative of Pastor Samuel Acosta Ruiz, leader of the Evangelical Ministerial Alliance of the City of Ensenada and the Centro Familiar Cristiano Bethesda, who counted on the help of 300 employees. "A call for citizenship was made and we invited the entire city to take part in this with their donations or efforts. CUMI Foundation has this event each year and we get a lot of support from the city", he concluded. http://www.elvigia.net/noticia/sin-hogar-buscan-una-vida-mejor

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