Jose Taidon Valenzuela Sanchez knows that he was born on a Sunday in Sinaloa Mexico in 1956 but he doesn't recall the month or date. He is the youngest of four. His parents divorced when he was 10. Both remarried so he has several step siblings as well.
When his parents divorced, he ran away. He hitched rides on trains and traveled all over Mexico. When he arrived in Ensenada, he knew he had found his new home. He says that he immediately fell in love with the climate and the food, even though he lived on the streets for a while.
Too young to get hired anywhere, Jose ran errands for elderly ladies that couldn't get around on their own anymore in order to earn money. One of those women took him in when she realized he was homeless. He worked at a few restaurants while he was still underage. Once he turned 18, he got a job at a factory that made airplane parts, working on one of their many assembly lines.
Jose never married or had children. He says that he fooled himself into thinking that he had plenty of time to settle down but the years got away from him and he ended up alone. His advice for the younger generation is to think of your future. He said, “When you're young you think you're invincible, that you'll never be too old to care for yourself. But your day will come so plan ahead.”
Jose came to Casa del Abuelo in October 2021. He shared with us that before he arrived, he was alone and so depressed he barely spoke. He said, “Being a part of this family has helped me feel better. Little by little, I'm getting better.”
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Casa del Abuelo cares for more than 20 abuelos at a time. They operate entirely on donations to cover expenses for water, propane, gas, food, transportation, and medicine. For $50 a month you can help provide these essential items for an abuelo.