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Yvette Vertilius and family -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Yvette Vertilius and family



“I am very hopeful”

To keep the rain out of their makeshift shelter, Yvette Vertilius and her husband, Sony Orientus, try to keep the seams where the pieces of tarp are joined tightly sealed. But that makes it impossible for air to circulate and the heat inside climbs quickly. She frequently takes her 4-month-old daughter, Givenscley, to a neighbor’s shelter that is a little cooler so the infant won’t overheat.

“My husband is out looking for work,” said Vertilius, 30. “He’s a housepainter. Sometimes he gets a little work, but it’s not every day.”

In addition to little Givenscley, the couple has five other children, ages 2 to 11. The three oldest are in a program to prepare them to go back to school—not all the children in the shelter community are so fortunate—but Vertilius worries about being able to register them for school. When her house was destroyed in the earthquake, she lost their birth certificates.

One bright spot for Vertilius is the promise of moving her family into a new Habitat house.

“I’m very happy about the new house, because my living conditions right now are very bad,” she said. “So I am very hopeful.”