Gangs are a massive part of the “culture” of La Limonada. If you walk through the ghetto, you are guaranteed to cross paths with members of different gangs, all vying for their right to the street. Aside from the work being done with the children of the ghetto, there is also something moving here with gang members, whether they have escaped the gang life or are still active. When Tita first began her work in La Limonada, her primary focus was on reaching out to the gang members. Now, that focus has returned in recent months through a carpentry workshop.
Employment in La Limonada is something that is hard to come by. Aside from the lack of opportunity, there is a lack of education and skill in a trade. For many of the men and boys of the ghetto, this is a factor in their turn towards the gangs. One way to prevent that is to give them a trade, to train them in an employable skill that will allow them to work in a suitable job to provide income for their families.
Several weeks ago, groups from South Carolina and Oregon came to help rebuild the house of Jonathon Xicoy, one of the older boys that attends Mandarina. The project started originally as a roof replacement, and quickly turned into a full rebuilding of the entire house. 2 ex-gang members assisted in the build when the project began. Now, there are 7 gang members, some still active, that are helping transform the house. The project is yet to be completed but the men are continuing to be trained and receiving the instruction with open minds.
-Written by Bethany Streng- Volunteer Blogger