Eleven days after the fiery Fuego volcano rained down on the Guatemalan village of San Miguel Los Lotes, a Guatemalan woman, who has lost her home and nearly 50 members of her family, continues to look for the lost members.
Eufemia Garcia Ixpata, a 48-year-old fruit vendor lost dozens of family members in the eruption, the Reuters reported.
According to the Reuters, during the seven days that Reuters accompanied Ixpata, she had found one body in the house of her former father-in-law, two at her sister's house, and the partial remains at her mother’s home. Volcano Fuego which has remained dormant for nearly 40 years, spat tons of earth, ash, and colossal stones burying hundreds of homes and leaving at least 112 people dead on June 3.
"This was my house," Garcia pointed out as she walked across the gray desert, pointing to where her mother used to live, and where the homes of her sisters and in-laws had stood.
Everything was buried under the thick ash.
Ixpata who has been sleeping in a school room with other survivors has followed a rigorous routine ever since the volcano erupted and changed her life. She gets up in the morning and makes her way up the mountain slope to where Los Lotes used to be, waiting for one of the bulldozers tasked with clearing the area to arrive.
"You see, last Sunday, we found remains of my mom. We found one of the children yesterday. So, we are getting results," she told the Reuters.
In the early days after the eruption, she believed she had lost all her children. But after a few days passing, three of her six children, ages 31, 22 and 19, along with a granddaughter, appeared at different shelters.
Four of her nine brothers who she feared were dead also turned up alive. Some called her on the phone when they found out that she was looking for them, while she found others in hospitals.
But the bodies of three of her children remain missing. "I will finish my search when I find them," she told the Reuters, soaking her tears.
Guatemalan rescue workers had only searched during the first three days after the tragedy, and later called off efforts as the volcano continued to rumble and hot vapors melted the soles of their shoes.
That was when Ixpata decided to search on her own. With no equipment like goggles or mask, to secure herself, she continued with her search.
"The volcano has calmed down. It is nothing to worry about because everything that it had to blow has already been blown out. So now, with the permission of our Lord and the volcano, we are working," she said, per the Reuters.