The day the La Palma volcano erupted, Dácil and his 2 and 7-year-old children were in the pool. Along with other family members, they had a quiet lunch at their home in Las Manchas, a neighborhood that is now hidden under the ash. Suddenly, a loud crash startled them. “That must have been a helicopter,” some said. But when they looked out the window, they saw the earth begin to spit lava about three miles from their home. “The children were in swimsuits, no shoes, no clothes, but I put them in the car and we drove away.” Since then, the palm tree has lived in a caravan with its partner, its two children, its mother-in-law, its sister-in-law, two dogs and a bird.
Dácil and his family had reserved the afternoon of Sunday, September 19 to prepare more clothes and food in case they had to be evacuated, but the volcano did not give them more time. The caravan they now live in was parked even closer to the eruption, so they ran in a hurry to hook it to their vehicle and escape to Los Llanos de Aridane. “If we are left without a caravan and unable to enter the house, we have nowhere else to go,” he says.
For 20 days, she has spent the mornings and afternoons with her caravan, playing with her children and her animals. Nor does he stop cleaning the ash that accumulates in the street or on the table where they have breakfast, lunch and dinner thanks to the food donated by the City Council. They have also become accustomed to living with the sound of the volcano, which from time to time offers them a respite. “When it stops we wonder if it has stopped already, but then it comes back with more force,” says Dácil’s mother-in-law.
The children “have taken it well.” “They know that until the volcano is extinguished we are going to have to be here,” says his mother, who wants them to be able to go back to school soon. ” They are tense because they spend their days in a caravan doing nothing else. At home I had a garden, a park, a vegetable garden … Here it is as if they were living on the street. ”
The City Council has donated backpacks, cases and school supplies, which is in addition to what they have been able to rescue from their home in the 15-minute visits to collect items organized by the authorities. According to the Ministry of Education of the Government of the Canary Islands, on October 13, teaching activity will resume in the municipalities affected by the La Palma eruption. There are 20 centers in El Paso, Tazacorte and Los Llanos de Aridane that had to suspend classes after the eruption.
For Dácil it has not been so easy to accept the new reality. ” I spent the first three days crying and saying that I wanted to go home. It is very complicated because you know that your house is very close to the volcano and you do not know when you will be able to return. I have my whole life there. If the house is taken, where do we go? I can live here for a few months, but I can’t be in a caravan for life. ”
Some friends and neighbors have tried to comfort her by telling her that she is young to start over. “But how much does it cost you to start over with two children?” She asks. Her partner, who works in construction, is on leave, and she is unemployed. The house they hope to return to was built together five years ago thanks to a piece of land that a relative gave them.
While holding his young daughter in his arms, Dácil does not stop thanking the administrations and neighbors for their solidarity. Every time he needs something, he goes to the Camilo León pavilion. There they provide clothes for the children, food, and even vouchers to buy appliances. “Thanks to those checks, I was able to buy a mixer for my daughter’s purees and an iron so that they can be well dressed when school starts,” she confesses resignedly.
The Los Llanos City Council has provided him with electricity, water, an awning to cover his children and a fence that surrounds the caravan to protect children and animals from the cars that pass by on the road. Dácil no longer needs anything else, just to be able to go home. Meanwhile, he spends time rearranging the space in the caravan. ” It’s big, but we are six people. No matter how much space you have, the charity clothes they have given me do not fit. ”