As always, never enough time. So much to tell you all. This was supposed to be a trip for planning, organization, evaluation of projects, etc. Yet it’s so impossible to say no to the lines of desperate faces that await us at the clinic. As we drive in to Pueblo Nuevo each morning, it seems funny and tragic to see 8 month pregnant ladies literally running to the clinic with osteoporotic 70 year olds behind them!
The mornings begin and their stories unfold. My heart breaks with each story and my emotions undulate between also wanting to run and wanting to be here all the time. At times, the choices that the people make seem so incomprehensible and I almost become angry when they seem delighted with the announcement that yes, you are pregnant with your 12th child and yes, you have no money or food. Randy and Ismael went to each home yesterday to get an accurate “census” of how many children, what grade, if in school, etc. He described a home with 18 people in one small room; dirt floor, filth, children with runny noses jumping on the mattress that sleeps 5 under the hammocks that sleep the rest. How can I possibly expect them to reason like we reason? Their lives are so full of tragedy that it is senseless.
Yesterday, I saw “Katerina”. She’s the 7 month old (weighs 10 pounds) with the heart defect. We’ve been working with a pediatric cardiologist in Toledo and a group in Guatemala City to have her heart problem surgically corrected. We’ve been buying her formula, trying to build up her nutrition in anticipation of surgery. Turns out that her mother says that she prefers water with sugar so her mom drank the formula! As rage built inside me, I reminded myself that if this was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Sometimes we read about the problems of the world – poverty, starvation, injustice. Oh, if we would just share more, things would be better. But as we become more entrenched in these people’s lives, I see that the roots of despair are so deep that it will truly take an act of God to make it the world that it should be.
Yet, we see small but very significant changes. Randy and Ismael visited one home where the mom was very shy and didn’t interact with the community at all. She now has one of the gardens which is flourishing and she has gained more confidence and even smiles and interacts with the others.
I met with all the teens in our high school program yesterday. Their faces were the epitome of hope. We had given them a test the day before and the results were worrisome. Many of them are barely at a 3rd grade level. They will need much help to succeed. I begged them to tell us each step of the way what they need because our dream is that each one will benefit from this. 5 of them leave their homes at 5AM and walk through a jungle path for 90 minutes to board the bus at 6:30. AM. For the last 2 weeks, they have all been punctual, clean and motivated. That alone speaks volumes to me.
Have to run – more later. Keep us in your prayers.