Helping Yani Oprea

Last weekend, the Pacaya volcano in Guatemala became active.  There were small earthquakes; then Tropical Storm Agatha rolled in, generating a dangerous combination of falling water, ashes and stones.

Yani Oprea and Max -- she's smiling, despite standing in one of the only undamaged parts of her home.

Regions of the Central American country are in a “state of calamity,” President Colom said.

No one in Westport knows about the destruction.

Yani Oprea does.  The Staples graduate lives there.

Now she and her young son Max have lost their home.

The first Facebook posting — early Sunday morning — was a report from a friend.  “She’s fine,” it said.  “Though her house may have washed into the river.”

A day and a half later — yesterday, at 5:30 p.m. — Yani checked in.  This is her remarkable status update:

Thanks, I appreciate the thoughts!  We didn’t make out so well in this storm though.  Lost my apartment & all my identification & belongings.  But hey, we still have our health!”

Yani did not post today.  Her friends — in Westport, on Facebook, and around the world — are worried, and want to help.  No one is sure what to do.

“06880” has these suggestions:

  • Go on Facebook, and search for Ileana Oprea.  Add your thoughts to her wall.
  • Click “Comments” at the top or bottom of this post — and offer any suggestions you have.

Yani Oprea, salvaging what she can.

10 responses to “Helping Yani Oprea

  1. My first suggestion would be to get the hell out of there! My second would be to set up some form of non-profit corporation/foundation online where individuals could contribute directly to assist her plight. God’s speed.

  2. How can I help?

  3. I spoke with Yani last night. She is okay and being Yani was joking about how she was standing in a beautiful garden at a friends house knowing there was three feet of mud outside the gardens wall. She said only pockets of the town have electricity right now. There has been no rain in two days which is helping the crews opening the roads.
    I’ll have her bank info today and will wire up funds to her so she can get into a hotel and set up tranportation etc. She will be leaving for Guatamala City on the 8th to get a new passport and plans to leave on the 14th for CA if the airport opens. The airport is closed due to the Volcano in Pacaya as Yani joked what is next?
    I am making an appointment for her at the US embassy for the 9th because there isn’t anyone responding to email requests.
    I can keep you updated here.

  4. Thanks for the update, Dain.

    Here’s an email I just got from Yani’s mother:

    Dear Dan –
    Thanks for the post, but Yani is a nomad. She can handle this one. No mail or trucks can get through to Panajachel yet, due to roads being washed out. Folks in the area are all helping each other and many of her States-side friends are working on expediting a new passport & handling bank transfers for her, via online services.

    There is no need to collect funds for Yani, but there are many indigenous folks in Panajachel who do NOT have such resources. If funds were to be collected, Yani could disperse them before she leaves for the USA, on June 14.

    You are a sweetheart for caring!
    xoxox – Mama-Lee

  5. Julie Olmsted

    I thank God that Yani and Max are unharmed and able to smile about this whole thing. I am reminded of the following (possibly botched) haiku:
    “My barn having burned to the ground, I now can see the moon.”
    Blessings and miracles to Yani, Max, and all!

  6. Kitty Rucker

    I am so happy that you and Max weren’t hurt. From the looks of it you must have had a harrowing experience. I hear from your mom that you will be coming back to the states and the Max is going to Colorado with his dad for a while. How awful to lose everything, all of the pictures, memories, etc.
    Kitty Rucker

  7. Wow, what is going on with the weather down in that region????

  8. I am praying for Yani and Max and cannot believe how brave and amazing . My love to the both of you and whatever I can do to help…$$$, clothes , furniture….please let me know. I am so glad there is a stratedgy to get out and be safe. Thinking about Yani and Max tons w/ tons of love Liz Hunter xxoo

  9. Pingback: Update From Yani Oprea « 06880

  10. laurie cameron

    Thanks for the update Dan, is there any way that we can reach Yani? What can we do to help? Please send my love to Yani and Max if you speak with her.