Sinkhole Interrupts Renovations

By Desi Stephens-

A sinkhole that developed in our backyard in late summer interrupted progress on our renovation project, but this delay hasn’t sidetracked our plans to continue improving recreational opportunities for our children.

So far, we have completed a covered patio and the wall behind the patio. However, the sinkhole has temporarily left us without a play area.

“Months after the situation the kids have not been able to go outside to the backyard,” says Director Alejandra Diaz. “All access is still restricted because we want to avoid any accidents.”

In addition, the children are not able to enjoy the patio because it is dangerous for them to be in the backyard until the sinkhole is repaired.

At first it didn’t seem that serious. However, after asking engineers to evaluate the situation, they let us know that it required immediate attention to avoid even worse damage to the property.

Nearly three months later, repairs are still in process. The work has been slowed by heavy rains in recent weeks.

We have had to look for other options to keep the kids busy, especially to provide a place where they can still go out to run and play. This has added extra expense to our budget because we have to take them to different places outside the homes.

Fortunately, because we don’t own the property, we are not responsible for paying for the repairs. However, we are also unable to estimate exactly when we will be able to start work on the second phase of the project. While the home owners are working to repair the damage, it is a very complex process.

So far, we have raised $16,000 for the renovations, with a total of $20,000 needed. Also planned are landscaping, a picnic shelter, swings, a sandbox, a playhouse and a picket fence.

We also plan to install separate play equipment for the younger and older children. The second and third phases will include installing gardens, plumbing, leveling electricity, new grass, putting wood chips in the play areas, and the recreational equipment.

The delay is particularly disappointing after this past summer’s 5K For Orphans— sponsored by the Orphan Care Ministry at Eastview Christian Church in Normal, Illinois—raised $7,000 for the improvements.

However, both the sudden appearance of the sinkhole and four earthquakes that struck Guatemala on Sept. 19 were vivid reminders of the fragile nature of life. We are delighted that no children were injured and no lives were lost in either event.

See More Pictures Here: Flickr Backyard Set


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