Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 14 - Various degrees of poverty

In front of San Lucas Toliman Parish

Water pipes. We don't drink the water from the tap here for obvious reasons... see what Emma said below about one certain man...

Second house we visited today (more like a tin shack) - our clubhouse is better!!! :(

on the way to the first house- the roads were TERRIBLE.

This morning we spent a couple of hours delivering a little food (eggs, oil, flour) to three poor families. It's was painful and very humbling. I don't cry very often at all, but I did shed some tears today. The three familes all had big needs but the same time suffer from different degrees of poverty. (Enrico)
One family lives in a cinderblock house with 2 rooms which they rent for a little money. She was a woman with five children. The lady cannot work anymore because her arthritis has caused her hands to be "shriveled". Her oldest daughter is 19 and our friend Anita has paid for her to go to school for the past 3 years so that she could learn to be a teacher. She does not work yet, though. The lady's skin is so sensitive that it can get bruised by a very light grasp. Her right arm was all red from that, so we will buy her some antibiotic cream and bandages today. It made me feel so sad to see all of these things. This was the one house that was somewhat nice. It had five beds in one tiny room, a kitchen with a hotel-sized refrigerator, a blender, and the smallest oven that you could ever imagine.
Another of these houses was a one in a little compound of a lot of little shacks. It was sad because the woman was blind and they only had 2 beds. One bed for the parents and one for the children: 4 girls + 2 boys. They were filthy. It was also sad because they had absolutely no food so we gave them some eggs and a few other goods for Christams. Oh yeah, there is no running water so this famiy wears their clothes until they are so dirty that they burn them. The husband works unloading buses - one of those men we saw while in Chimaltenango who was climbing onto the bus roof while the vehicle was moving. Because his wife is blind, she cannot work. (Emma)
The last house we went to was again, a shack with two rooms. The elderly mother can hardly see. She goes to the market almost every morning and sits on the street begging for money. Anything helps! The money for the food we gave today came from a family in, TX.
For some of these families it is hard to know what to do. The children of the blind lady cannot go to school, because the family does not have a physical address and they have to move often. So, even if we sponsored one of the children, they could not go to school, until they have a permanent or semi-permanent address. Even if you gave every poor person in the country some firewood and food, they would use it all and be in the same predicament again. What can we do for this kind of situation? Any idea, Blog readers? We really feel small and numb. The needs are so overwhelming.
It is hard for me to know what to say other than what my parents have already stated.
It was all very saddening for sure. Our dog Rosie lives better than many of these people. She always has food in her bowl, a warm place to sleep at night, attention and love... I can't describe it all here. The only way that you will ever know what this is like is to come here yourselves. And I can't help saying that this has been a wonderful experience for all of us. And that anybody and everybody who lives in the U.S. or any other wealthy country would benefit from a trip like this. It makes you realize how very much we have and how very wealthy we are as Americans, or gringoes as they call us white people here. You could not imagine all the different levels of poverty there are. It is... well, it is... It's up to you to fill in the ____________.
(Isabella Marie Contolini)
Age almost 12
Oh, another thought from Isabella: Our names change a little bit here. I am not Isabella, I am Isabel Maria.
Emma is not Emanuela , she is Manuela Maria.
Pietro is Pedro.
Paolo is Pablito, which means Little Pablo.
Emma: --> Also when we were going to the first lady's house we saw a guy pee by the road! Gross!
Yesterday we came back to San Lucas Sacatepequez. It was a three hour drive because of bad road conditions. It would have taken an hour and a half back in the U.S. Before we left, Pietro got his shoes shined by two boys which was only two queztals which is twenty five cents in American money. That's really cheap compared to the US. Mom and dad felt a little uncomfortable because everyone was crowding around us waching. But, they were quite good. It is also very cheap compared to DIA services because over there it costs forty dollars.

This afternoon we are going to meet with the lawyer that helped with Paolo's adoption 4 years ago... We are going to Pollo Campero, the local fast food chain. They have a play area there. Joy. More dirt.

1 comment:

Guido said...

Carissimi tutti, ci fà sempre molto piacere vedere le vostro foto e leggere quanto scrivete. Non é certo un viaggio di piacere e le situazioni di vita che incontrate lasciano sicuramente sconvolti e nello stesso tempo devono, e questo vale anche per chi non é presente fisicamente, farci riflettere su quanto siamo fortunati. Preghiamo il Signore che sta per nascere che apra il nostro cuore e quello di tutti coloro che hanno responsabilità di governo perché si possa giungere ad eliminare, in tutto il mondo, situazioni come queste.
Isabella ed Emanuela sono molto brave, anche come giornaliste. Il Signore vi benedica. Papà e mamma