Ramiro & Adelina

Ramiro & Adelina

Born into a family plagued by cruelty and violence, Ramiro was alone on the street by age 9. He spent two years arduously cutting sugar cane outside the city of Puebla, only to have his salary stolen by older workers. After fleeing the sugar cane fields, Ramiro found work herding sheep and was continually abused by the sheep farmer. Adelina, the sheep farmer’s daughter, befriended Ramiro and secretly brought him food each night. Adelina was also being abused by her father, and when both children turned 15, they fled to the city of Puebla. Ramiro and Adelina scraped together a meagre living by selling trinkets on the street. They lived in a tiny cinderblock shack with a dirt floor and a patchwork plastic roof.

After a year, Ramiro and Adelina ended their relationship; each moved in with another partner. Eventually, the pair reunited, each with young children from the previous relationship. Ramiro developed severe problems with alcoholism during the separation, and the physical and emotional abuse that had once been sporadic, became increasingly frequent and intense. Ramiro found it difficult to hold a job, forcing Adelina to take all six children to the street for work. The two oldest children, Juana and José, were working on a bridge near their home when JUCONI first approached them. After two months of repeated visits, fulfilled promises and empathy, Juana and Jose agreed to introduce the JUCONI team to their parents.

Adelina harboured intense distrust towards organisations and government programmes that attempted to reach out to her family. Many had failed to fulfill promises, while others criticised Margarita as an inept parent and threatened to take away her children. When JUCONI initially organised a meeting, Adelina, sceptical of their commitment, stayed at her fruit stand. Ramiro fled from the house and did not meet with the team.

A week later, the JUCONI team returned to find Adelina at home. By fulfilling promises and demonstrating a capacity to understand familial challenges, the JUCONI team forged a positive relationship with Adelina and the children. Initially, Ramiro remained on the periphery. Weekly visits became routine, and JUCONI constantly reiterated an invitation towards Ramiro

One day, Ramiro remarked about two days of hauling heavy bags he had recently done in the market. The JUCONI team lauded his dedication to the family. Over the next weeks, Ramiro kept the team informed of his work. The team showered him with praise, reiterating his strength and deep love for his family. Ramiro started to linger more during the sessions and he gradually became involved. For the first time in his life, Ramiro began to feel important. He started to improve the squalid shack by putting cement between the stacked cinderblocks, expanding the number of rooms, and covering the leaky roof with corrugated tin. He began to joke and play with his children; his drinking and aggression slowly acquiesced.

When Adelina accepted a job as a live-in maid across town, Ramiro voluntarily stepped into the role as key-adult figure for the JUCONI meetings. He implemented a household schedule which allowed the children to attend school for the first time. Ramiro found steady work. Physical and emotional abuse, a previous household fixture, was minimal. The children preferred to be home as a family rather than out roaming the streets. Adelina eventually returned home to the family. She and Ramiro opened a fruit stand, complete with legal paperwork. The children remain in school, and Juana and José also work part time. Ramiro has now stopped drinking altogether. Today, Miguel and his family are still poor. However, they no longer toil under the hardships of violence. The family now operates as a team, actively pursuing a better future. JUCONI will continue weekly sessions until the family demonstrates the capacity to maintain the momentum alone.

The cycle of violence that expelled Ramiro from his home at age 9 has been broken. Ramiro takes great satisfaction in knowing that his children are growing up in a loving environment, and that he is a key part of it.