An event that has been largely overshadowed by recent news events such as the migrant caravan heading to the U.S., Hurricane Willa made landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast on Oct. 22. Then a category three hurricane, Willa has since been downgraded to a tropical storm as it moved further inland through the state of Sinaloa.
Coastal areas were particularly hard hit by this storm, though the entire region has seen widespread flooding and devastation. These include small traditional rural indigenous communities like El Trebol #2 that lakecity residents David Faubert and Juanita Cervantes are from.
First coming to Williams Lake over 18 years ago, the couple has made their home here for years while maintaining a strong connection with their family back in Mexico. When Willa hit it caused the local river to flood its banks and, according to Faubert, resulted in almost the entire community being washed away.
“Right now they’re really struggling, it’s a disaster zone and it’s a huge area but the area we’re most concerned about is where our families are. They’re more remote, into the mountains so access to that place is tough,” Faubert said.
While the people, like Cervantes’ mother and family, were able to escape to higher ground, they have lost everything, with aid unlikely to come anytime soon according to Faubert. Much of the coastal areas are more populated and are tourist destinations, while El Trebol #2 is isolated in a mountainous region with a population of roughly 500.
“I called my mom three days ago, its really sad because I was in bed while they were running to the top of the mountain to be safe,” Cervantes described emotionally, “My brother has a little baby so, they spent the whole night on the top of the mountain in the rain with no blankets, nothing. The next day when I call again there was nothing to eat, so they have no food right now.”
As it may be a few days to weeks before large-scale formal government aid comes to their family and community in Mexico, Faubert and Cervantes decided to help provide immediate aid now. Cervantes has taken it upon herself to cook traditional Mexican food from Oct. 27 to Oct. 30 as part of a fundraiser to raise funds to send to roughly 45 families in El Trebol #2 without food, clothing or shelter.
Saturday she made salsa and pozole, while Sunday she will be making salsa and tortilla soup and on Monday she will be making beef and potato taquitos with a side of salsa. Caledon hopes to raise a $1,000 this weekend but said that the more money she raises, the more people she can help in Mexico.
The money will be used for the immediate concern of buying food for the village and while Faubert said he’d love to be able to load up a shipping container of food and send it down there, money is the easiest to transport and will be able to meet their immediate needs. Williams Lake’s Latin community has already rallied to their call for funds, but Faubert and Cervantes would like to extend the invitation to all of Williams Lake.
“I know that Williams Lake is a community that steps up whenever there is a need, that’s the thing I like about lakecity, people come together when there’s a need and they’re welcome to help out with this cause,” Faubert said.
Anyone who wishes to put in an order for food or otherwise donate to the cause can call Cervantes at 250-392-0100. Food will be available for pickup at her and Faubert’s home at 354 Lizenburg Crescent after 4 p.m. on all days.