Matteo is 4, John Lucas is 6 and Carolina is 13. Several years ago their mom decided to take off. This past Tuesday their dad (who was raising them) fell off the roof and died. Sooo, three children left on their own. Not entirely on their own . . . thanks to Nuevos Amigos and some amazing Jesus-followers who are committed to caring for them.
Our task was simply to clean their 3 room home, paint the walls and do what we could to make the hovel habitable.
We trudged up the mountain with our supplies in tow. In third world poverty, the higher you climb, the worse the poverty. When we arrived at the children’s home, the living conditions were nothing short of deplorable. We spent the next 3 hours cleaning, painting, praying, crying . . . trying not to think about our own children living in such a state.
At one point we decided to take the pile of filthy clothes that were piled in the corner and fold them neatly–try to bring some semblance of order to the bedroom where all three children shared a single wood bed. As I was folding clothes I stuck my hand into a shirt. I felt something squishy. I pulled my hand out and made the mistake of smelling what was on my fingers. It was poop! That’s when we decided to bring the clothes back to our hostel to wash them.
We finished with the cleaning and painting and were pulling the scraps of furniture back into the rooms. We couldn’t bring ourselves to carry in the mattress and bedding–it was rancid. We hopped in our bus and headed for the closest market to purchase new mattresses and bedding. Quite the adventure carrying mattresses through the street.
At 5 o-clock the makeover was complete. Matteo, John Lucas and Carolina came up the hill from school to see what the gringos had done to their home. I’ve never seen such looks of delight and gratitude! May I never forget.
These are some of the before and after images . . .