Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Today we drove south of Lima to another squatter community and to visit another Compassion center. We were warmly greeted by the staff and the children. The children come in shifts to the center. There are fewer children in the morning, as most kids go to school in the morning. So the morning kids come and stay through lunch, then go to school. The afternoon kids go to school and then come to the center (church) for lunch and an afternoon of Compassion activities. All three student centers we have visited have been so different.
Today I met Waldir....He is 16 and needs a sponsor.
I talked with him, explaining that I am committed to finding him a sponsor. He was very sweet - very shy and a little bit nervous. He is doing well in school right now. His favorite class is math and he wants to become an industrial engineer. He used to have a sponsor, but for some reason his sponsor quit sponsoring him. We talked for a few minutes, I got a picture with him and then he left. About 15 minutes later he had come back to me with some questions. His concern was that I would fail in finding him a sponsor. It is much harder for the teenagers to get sponsors. The little kids are so irresistible and are sponsored much more easily. The teens get overlooked, and this can be so hard on them. This is such a vulnerable time in their lives and they need a sponsor's encouragement to carry them through school. I promised Waldir I would find him a sponsor. He even asked that if I didn't find him a sponsor, would I sponsor him. I told him I would love to sponsor him, but I really want my family and friends to experience the blessing of sponsorship. So start talking to people and see if we can get him sponsored before I come home.
I also met an LDP student named Roxanna - she was fun to talk to. She spoke to me in Spanish to help me practice and I also had her practice her English with me. Tonight we have dinner with 5 LDP students and hear their stories.
We went on another home visit and I have no words to describe what I saw. It's insane that people live like this. This particular community we were in has a population of about 30,000 people and many are living in extreme poverty. The streets (if you can even call them that) are lined with garbage and there are so many street dogs and other animals that it's hard not to step in poo. Some of the streets are pure sand and others are mud (that are slick when wet). Some of the "steps" we walked up are worse than the trails we hike on some of the steepest hikes we've done. It's unbelievable. And there are steep drop offs everywhere - I would be so worried to let Syd and Kay walk in areas like that, simply because they could fall and get seriously injured. But these people have no choice and the children take it all in stride. We met Mirella (7) and Mariel (4) at the student center and they walked with us (led us) to their house. They were so excited that we were coming to their house. I love the innocence of children. They proudly pointed their house out to us - not knowing how different our world is from theirs. Their home has no water and no electricity. The mother uses candles at night and earlier this year, she was working and her children were home (alone with their 12 yr. old sister) getting ready for bed. They knocked a candle over and the entire house burnt down - they lost everything. Thankfully the children were not locked in the house (as some parents do when they go to work) or they would have perished in the fire. With the help of the neighbors (who are also living in extreme poverty) and Compassion, they were able to rebuild. Their house is made of thin plywood and has a tin roof. There is a window, but no glass - just a piece of plastic to cover it. The floor was dirt and the one and only room of the house was about 15x20. Can you imagine? Here are some pictures to help you...Mirella and Marie, their house and their neighborhood