(Join the #TenDollarTribe) This time of year, Iquitos, Perú is a world of water. As the rains fall, the Río Amazonas rises and the inhabitants of this mysterious land (or lack there of) submit and adjust. And this particular year the water has risen to a near record level. But alas, this is Iquitos…this is Belén…this is the Amazon…and to a degree, this is normal. When the water covers the floor of your house, you build a sub-floor and live in the space between—thankfully, the average Peruvian is rather short. When the river forces your family of 5 to live in 10% of your already small, single-room home, you can’t object…you simply adjust. And when the river finally takes over your entire house, you move into a tent on a hill and wait for the waters to recede. As I said, to a degree, this is normal. What is NOT normal in a community like this is a good education, family counseling and a hot nutritious meal every day. Help One Now, in partnership with Colégio Kairos is providing just that for 100 kids from some of the poorest areas in Iquitos. Colégio Kairos is a well-respected private school focused on academics, spiritual development and community outreach. This week, my brother and I visited a few of the families whose children attend Kairos and are part of the Help One Now sponsorship program. We walked to their door on makeshift raised sidewalks over murky water, a balancing act to say the least. At this point, the doorways were only 3-4 foot openings…my brother is 6’5”…it was quite entertaining. We sat inside the homes of Maribel y Yosias and Soledad y Olipio. We sat because there was no room to stand. In both instances, 7 of us crowded into about 60 square feet of space…the space that wasn’t under water. We listened as both sets of parents told their difficult life stories and shared their daily struggles. None of them ever finished secondary school, and the education they did receive was poor. Yet all 4 of these parents are immensely proud of their kids. John. Deborah. Jack. Liz. They’re getting an education…a good one! They will finish secondary school, and they will have opportunities beyond that. They will break the cycle. They have HOPE, and that’s a powerful thing, a thing that extreme poverty usually stamps out.
In fact, both of these families credited Kairos Ministries, the church and the school, with keeping their family together through counseling and support. Keeping families together…I like the sound of that. That’s what we’re doing here, and we want YOU to be a part of it! The potential of this partnership between Help One Now & Kairos is big. There are incredible things on the horizon, but we need to build a tribe of support around this community. That’s the purpose of the #TenDollarTribe…a group of people who will stand behind this community and lay a foundation for future work. And each of YOU is key to helping us build this tribe! Join the #TenDollarTribe and help to write this story. Child sponsorship has already made a tangible difference in this community (and it is a vital component to be sure), but we know we can–and must–do more. By joining a mosaic of people who are all giving to this community, you will bring lasting change to Belen, Inquitos, and the Peruvian Amazon!