This week most of my time is being spent visiting as many of our sponsored student as I can. This task sounds easy, but in fact it can be quite exhausting.
The majority of our kids live in a housing area called “permanent housing” which came into being a number of years ago as a result of a government relocation project that relocated the almost 30,000 people living in the “Smokey Mountain” garbage dump. The residents here, however, prefer to call it “Paradise Hills”. I can assure you, it’s not really a paradise. The buildings are 5 stories and sometimes you climb 5 stories only to find out the family doesn’t live there anymore….then you have to figure out where they actually are. Visiting 3 students could take you the whole day!
This is one of my favorite aspects of what I do here. I love visiting the families, going to their homes. I enjoy the interaction with the people as they see this white guy walking in their neighborhood. One girl came up to me yesterday just to say, “wow…you’re so white!”. Being here really helps me understand the daily struggles that are so foreign to us in the West. It gives me the opportunity to meet specific needs that are above and beyond the sponsorship…..it’s an honor for me to be here and to know these people.
I’m thankful for our sponsors who I represent when I’m here. One in particular gave me extra money for the family of their student. When I went to visit I discovered that the family is a single mother with 3 children who, because the ex-husband only provides her with 250 Pisos per month (about $5), she lives in her parents unit….10 people all together in a space smaller than many master bedrooms in the U.S.
We will schedule a time to take her shopping for food and whatever else the family needs.
This is the value of being here. They are not just a list of names on a paper, or a picture we post on our website, these are real people who are hurting and struggling for their daily existence. I am so fortunate to be a part in bringing whatever help we can to as many as we can. The needs are great and many. There are about 100 students in the program that still do not have sponsors. I would ask you to please consider joining us!
Thanks for reading. I will update you soon.