Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another Home Visit in Peru

In August 2010, I had the opportunity to travel to Peru to see the ministry of Compassion in action. This post and the rest to follow this week are from that trip.

This is Mariel (age 4) and Mirella (age 7). We had the privilege of visiting their home.

They live pretty far up in the hills, away from the church and Compassion project. We rode the bus up as far as we could, then began walking. We walked and walked and walked, with the two girls leading the way. The girls were so excited that we were coming to their house. I loved their innocence and naivety - they had no idea their home would shock us and be so different than the homes we are used to. At ages 4 and 7 there was no hint of embarrassment - just excitement that we would visit their home.

They led us up very steep "steps" if you can call some of them that. It really was no place for children to be running around, and yet it was the only way for them to get to their home.

These girls live with their mother, Elizabeth, and their 13 year old sister, Anna. Their father left them when Mariel was just a baby. Elizabeth, the mother, has to work whenever she can and often has to leave Mariel and Mirella in Anna's care.

Earlier this year, in May (2010), Elizabeth was at work, and the three girls were home alone. Because they don't have electricity, they use candles at night for light. They were living in a two room house and had gone to one room to get ready for bed when one of the candles got knocked over and the house went up in flames.

Can you imagine? Three children, home alone and their house is burning down. Thankfully, the neighbors were right there to help the girls and contain the fire. Elizabeth was so remorseful when she told this story, yet so grateful God kept her children safe.

The neighbors pulled their resources together and the church (Compassion) helped out as well, getting a new home up for this family. The home is very small - one room that is maybe 15 feet by 20 feet. The walls are thin plywood, the floors are dirt, the window is just a square cut out with a plastic flap and the roof is tin.

How beautiful is this girl?

Before we arrived at the house, the oldest daughter, Anna had gotten water. They have to go up the hill to the water tower and bring water down in buckets to use. They keep the water in these containers.

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