As I mentioned yesterday, we traveled today to the town of San Jose Rio Bravo Suchitepequez, about 2 hours from Casa Shalom. We traveled with a pick-up truck full of food and Marco Tulio and Marta, the businessman and his wife who are heading up the relief effort in San Jose. While there, we weighed and measured the height of about 140 kids, trying to determine the extent of their malnutrition. Mothers arrived with kids of all ages and stood in line to have their child measured and to receive a ticket which would allow them to receive food which we had brought. In addition to this extra food, on December 1st, the local church where we worked is beginning to serve breakfast to the local children 7 days a week, using food that we purchased with donations! It was honestly a difficult day - the children were very sweet and happy, but their extreme poverty was obvious. Many were dirty, barefoot and extremely skinny. If you look closely at the photos below, you will see that although thin, many of the kids have swollen bellies due to extreme parasite infections. We are in the process of trying to get some anti-parasite medication donated for this community, so please keep that process, and the health of these children, in your prayers.
We also visited the local school, which just received a concrete floor last month. Prior to that, the floor was dirt. The school is open-air, with as many as four grades sharing a classroom. There are no chalkboards and no textbooks. Please keep this local church in your prayers as they endeavor to start a feeding center to help the children of this community.
Photo 1: A mother waits in line with her little boy.
Photo 2: Little Maria was our shadow all day. She followed us wherever we went! Photo 3: Maria, who lives with her mother and 4 younger siblings, has a swollen stomach because of a parasite infection. She was among the worst cases of parasite infections that we saw. Photo 4 and 5: More kids wait in line to be measured and to get food. Photo 6: An older mother waits with her baby. Photo 7: A little girl drinks coconut juice out of a plastic bag - a real treat! Photo 8 and 9: Two of the toddlers who will be receiving daily breakfast at the church Photo 10: Jessica and her little shadow, Maria Photo 11: An infant gets weighed Photos 12 and 13: The local school Video: The number of mothers and children lined up to receive aid was incredible. They waited for many hours to have their children measured and to receive food.