By Dana C. Ullman, The Mendocino Voice, July 18, 2021
In spite of fifteen months of pandemic living in their three-room mobile home, Jerry and Alma Gutiérrez, their six children, three birds and house cat Ninja, remain a healthy and cheerful family. When a shelter-in-place order was issued in March 2020, the Gutiérrez family resolved to stay tight-knit despite the tight quarters. Jerry continued to work while the children — ranging in age from 6 – 17 — stayed home with Alma, who attended classes remotely.
“It’s been very hard,” says Alma. “Especially with remote learning, I had to have one [child] in one room, one in another room, one at the table.”
“Sometimes the internet went bad and we didn’t know what to do,” says Juan, 9.
Jerry, who has a heart condition and Alma, a diabetic, have had to be extra careful. Amidst the chaos of remote learning, an unstable internet connection, Jerry’s work schedule and the understandable hesitation at the risk of exposing their family to COVID-19, both parents found it difficult to obtain basic information and necessities like food.