Enrique Alegría Valdivia wasn’t planning on being a single dad to four children. But when his wife abruptly walked out the door and didn’t look back, he wasn’t given a choice.
Yet, despite being thrust into single fatherhood in the midst of poverty, the dedicated father is taking care of his children just fine, proving that parental love can overcome any obstacle.
The Struggles of Single Parenthood
Photo by Tom Fisk
Life in the Cerro Colorado district in Arequipa, Peru was already hard for the Valdivia family. Living in poverty, Valdivia and his wife struggled to provide for the basic needs of their children, aged 5, 7, 9, and 11.
When Valdivia’s wife abandoned them to reportedly start a new family, life became even more difficult. As the children struggled with the loss of their mother, Valdivia struggled with the loss of a partner in raising them.
Overnight he became their sole provider, financially and emotionally. And without any other family around, he is doing it all completely on his own. But he is determined to do the best for his children.
“They don’t deserve to suffer or cry,” he told a local news outlet that covered his story for a Father’s Day special.
Despite constantly worrying about his children and his finances, he works hard to maintain a positive attitude and to provide stability and security for his kids. All while making certain that he is there for his children.
Balancing Parenthood and Work
As any parent knows, juggling work and parenting responsibilities is no easy feat. Valdivia works in construction but he prefers to take on his own jobs rather than work for an employer.
This allows him the freedom to set his own hours and to be there to get his kids off to school.
“My children start school at 7:45, I take them and I can just go to work. For this reason, I cannot work from 7 in the morning as they normally do on construction sites. I look for my own little jobs so as not to harm anyone and they do not claim that I am late or work fewer hours,” he said.
While working and taking care of his kids, Valdivia is also saving up to buy a house. He currently resides at a friend’s house but he dreams of having a “proper home” one day.
His dream may soon become a reality, thanks to the power of the media.
Word of a Father’s Sacrifice Spreads
After Valdivia was featured on the Arequipa news, residents of his local town set up a fund and started donating money. Inspired by his devotion to his children, many view him as a “hero.”
Valdivia, however, doesn’t see himself as a hero. He sees himself as a father. One who will do whatever it takes for the sake of his children.
“I give everything I can and have. I will always stand up for my children. I am there to care for them and love them; they are also my greatest strength,” he said.
And it is that strength that will carry this family through.
Because despite the odds stacked against him, despite his wife’s abandonment, living in poverty, and the challenge of raising his four children alone, Valdivia wields a weapon greater than all of the adversity.
The power of a parent’s love for their child. And there is no greater force on earth than that.
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