Mosiah 7:18 “-----notwithstanding our many strugglings, which have been in vain, yet I thrust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made.”
We witnessed a lot of poverty this week and people struggling for survival. The challenges are almost indescribable, the result of incorrect traditions—the blood of generations, obstacles as high as mountains blocking the path of anyone trying to break away from the mold, and the poor who continue to suffer, often not knowing the depth of their own sufferings! We do not judge these people because we do not know the depth of the suffering they have endured or the temptations faced. We wonder what is the best way to help people in poverty? We often ask ourselves if we are making any difference in this country and when will the poor make an “effectual struggle” to escape their pathetic conditions.
BATEY NEAR NIZAO
We loaded up our pickup with clothes the church is recycling from the Emergency Storage bins and visited a Batey with some of the other missionaries. There are several small homes built around a little school. An amazing woman tried to teach the children in a school building with nothing and no pay. There are a few desks and amazingly a few books, a black board and some chalk. There is no power, no water, no bath rooms, no printers, no computers, no Xerox machine, no playground or anything else. The people have to go to the main highway to purchase water to drink, use outdoor latrines and carry water to wash and feed a few pigs from a stream about 300 yards downhill from the community. The water they wash with often creates sores on their bodies. One 15 year old boy is total incompetent and was completely naked when we arrived. His mother put some breeches on him for our benefit and usually keeps him in a cage at the back of her house because he is unmanageable. The only employment is the sugar canes fields which draws poverty wages. The entire community was sitting listlessly under trees to stay out of the heat. The very atmosphere was depressing. It is not an easy proposition to know how to help these people. There are many things that can temporally relieve immediate suffering, but the only effectual struggle is for them to accept the gospel of Christ and begin living in the light of the gospel.
We visited another hospital this week. They see about 450 people a day, perform surgeries, deliver babies and deal with every other malady known to man. No one pays to be treated at the hospital. It is managed and financed by about 100 philanthropists who out of their own goodwill provide for the hospital. Consequently, the hospital struggles day to day to survive, and everyone waits all day long to be treated with antiquated equipment, inadequate supplies and share a room with numerous other patients. Yet the hospital is doing an amazing service for the poor. It is very easy for us to create a humanitarian project for a hospital because we have a well-founded organization to work with and can buy equipment that is put to immediate use to relieve suffering on a big scale. America, do you really want socialized medicine?
SCHOOL CAANANO LAS PALMAS
It is difficult to even call this a school. They receive almost no help from the Ministry of Education other than low wages for their teachers and a sugar cookie and a small carton labeled “fresh milk” that is actually “orange drink” for the students. They have 400 students, many of whom this “meal” may be the only thing they get to eat during the day. The classrooms are small and crammed with as many as 25 desks, wall to wall, like a can of sardines. The rooms have large screen monitors donated by some other well-meaning organization, but what good are they if the school has no computers, no power during the day and no running water. No power means you have no air conditioning, no fans and no lights. No water means you can’t push a handle and flush the toilet and you can’t go down the hall to get a drink of water. Books are rare and homework for the children to take home is non-existent. Yet the principal struggles on and somehow they teach a little bit during the 4 hours the children are in school. America---quit complaining about your schools!
ADR SAN CRISTOBAL
ADR San Cristobal is an organization we are contemplating helping who manage a school for children with disabilities and also a physical therapy center.
SAN JOSE DE OCOA FOOD PROJECT
The one bright spot this week was our inspection of the food project is San Jose de Ocoa. The water system in Parra has been built and some amazing gardens have sprung up around the water supply. We hope they soon have other gardens in place!