22 | MAR | 2019
Bertha is not worried for food; her main concern are the registration fees, school supplies and uniforms for Fortino, that cost 900 pesos in total (US$55). (Photo: Edgar Ávila / EL UNIVERSAL)

At age 81, Bertha collects iron scrap to help her grandson

06/08/2015
13:22
Edgar Ávila / Corresponsal
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The 81-year-old woman is forced to work to help her grandson continue studying.

Doña Bertha and her grandson, 13, use candles at night because their humble house does not have electricity, neither water.

The 81-year-old woman collects iron scrap on the streets of El Dorado in Córdoba, Veracruz to sell it, despite her knee pain and colitis that do not let her breathe properly.

She does this every day because her grandson, Fortino, wants to stop studying and work instead, but she opposes to the idea. "If you do not study you do not achieve anything," she says.

They live in a small room made of wood rotted by moisture. With the less than 50 pesos (US$3) that she gets from collecting iron scrap, she cooks soup, coffee and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and this makes her feel proud of herself.

She has never given up, even when she was expelled from the land owned by the former railway company where she lived with her grandson and was forced to build her present hut.

Bertha is not worried for food; her main concern are the registration fees, school supplies and uniforms for Fortino, that cost 900 pesos in total (US$55).

To make things worse, she has not received the bimonthly stipend of the pension program for seniors of the Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL), neither the scholarship Fortino lost after finishing primary school.

"Authorities are failing us," she said with rage.

Her grandson concurs.

"Authorities do not live up to their word, that is why I expect nothing from them," said Fortino, while soaking his right foot in water because the canvas shoes without socks that he wears burned his sole. "We have no money to take him to the doctor," his grandmother explained.

On her way to fetch water from the neighbors with two buckets, Bertha says that she is not surprised that the number of poor people in Mexico is growing, because neither authorities nor citizens dare to help them.

Her greatest desire is that a kind soul helps them carry on with their lives.

 

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