Don Mito is one of the longest-running staff members currently at Amigos. He first joined Amigos in 2002 as a construction worker, and has since moved to our maintenance staff, where he has served for 10 years. In the face of many (not so pretty) challenges in his daily work in maintenance, Don Mito never fails to greet those around him with a smile. He brings to Amigos not only a hard-working attitude, but a true joy and love for the kids of Amigos. We are lucky to have him as part of the Amigos de Jesús family!
How did you first hear about Amigos de Jesús?
I first heard about Amigos from Padrino Ubil about 14 years ago. Padrino Ubil is now the head of construction at Amigos. I have known Ubil since I was a young boy; he is like family to me. Anyway, back in 2002, he was a well-known construction contractor in the town where I am from. We were working together in construction when Anthony and Christine [Granese, co-founders of Amigos de Jesús] came to our town looking for construction workers to build a bridge. Ubil went to work on that project and that was when he found out that Amigos was actually a children's home, with 5 or 6 boys living there and attending school in town. Ubil later brought me to Amigos to help with construction on the volunteer house, and I have been here ever since.
How has your role at Amigos changed over the last 14 years?
I worked in construction at Amigos for five years after the volunteer house project in 2002. After that, I moved to the maintenance department. These days, my daily tasks include controlling water usage around the hogar, fixing electric problems, and fixing plumbing problems.
How is Amigos different today than it was when you first arrived?
When I first came, we had much less land that we used specifically for the hogar. We used to rent much of our land to various neighbors. We only really used the land near the comedor and office building for living. Today, we have expanded to include more dorm space for the kids, the farm, and the school. The comedor (cafeteria) also used to be smaller; we expanded a few years ago to hold all of our kids. Of course, that's another thing - when I started, there were only 5 or 6 boys living at Amigos. Today, we have both boys and girls, and there are 126 total!
What are some of the daily challenges you face on the job?
Well, my job is all about fixing daily challenges around the hogar! So some of the most common maintenance challenges I work with are problems with the bathrooms, sinks, and pilas [the washboards the kids use to wash their clothes]. There are also always things to be fixed in the kitchen!
What do you like most about your job or about Amigos de Jesús?
Everything! I adore Amigos de Jesús. I don't have a single complaint. If I had to pick one place at Amigos I love the most, it would be the soccer field.
Do you have a favorite story from your time at Amigos?
So many kids have been part of this place -- have left, have stayed, have passed away. I still see many of our grown kids out in the community and they still treat me with care and respect. Adoni, Sergio, and Chango are especially a few of the kids who were just boys when I first met them and now they are employees at Amigos. It's a beautiful thing!
Another story is that in 2015 I had a stroke, and Amigos took me to the doctor and took care of me. I am better now. They treat me very well here. I was so touched by how everyone cared for me at that time.