Often when I write an update, I’m condensing an entire month into a few paragraphs. This means you get the essence of the month’s activity, but you don’t get to know the human faces impacted. I wanted to take a moment to share with you a glimpse into just a few lives I’ve interacted with this week.
First there is Caleb, a young man we sponsor to vocational school. He works 90 hours per week for a total monthly salary of $38 –a MONTH! He works to try to provide for himself and his mother. When I left, his mother was incarcerated, and Caleb worked hard to pay her fines. Now that she’s out, she needs reliable work that will not land her back in jail.
Felicula: Another of our sponsored students and one of 8 children, she lives in a small mud structure with just enough to live on. She and all of her siblings sleep together on the floor. Her father is unable to work, leaving her mother to try to find small jobs to earn enough for food for each day. Felicula dreams of being a lawyer, but for now, she helps raise her younger siblings, cooks for the family and keeps house. She and her siblings expressed sheer joy when I stopped by to visit with milk and a loaf of bread.
Ruth is the 13-year-old sister of a sponsored student. She asked me this week if she could please come live with me to be my house girl, meaning could she come cook and clean for me simply for the exchange of a roof over her head and meals every day.
Jackson is a young boy I’ve come to know and love and long to do more for. Jackson is orphaned and lives in the streets of the city. At 13, his mother has died, his father denies him, his grandmother and adult sister refuse to allow him to stay with them. While I visit him frequently and try to make sure he has something to eat, I legally cannot do much else at this time. Last week Jackson asked me, “When are you going to take me home with you?”
I had the privilege of attending Belize’s mother’s baptism last Spring. When I stopped in to visit her yesterday, I asked how her husband was. That’s when Mama Belize let me know that her husband had walked out, leaving her a single mother of 4 girls ages 10, 5, 3, & 2, living in a small mud shanty, with no source of reliable income, only begging God for enough provision for each day.
Evode’s family has moved since I left. When some village kids helped me find their home hidden in the hills and banana trees, Evode’s mom let me know they had to move because the rent at the last place was unaffordable. While they had been paying $8 for the last house, this one will cost $5 per month. Evode and his siblings all share a straw mat on the mud floor, where they sleep at night. These circumstances don’t diminish Evode’s smile. As for sponsorship, Evode’s mom says, “Thank you. You have made my children so very happy. God bless you.”