Saturday, November 21, 2015

Step Into My World: Bolivian Tropics

Today, in Illinois (and in several other states), we got our first snowfall of the winter. I absolutely hate (and I never use that word) winter. The snow, the ice, the cold, scraping off my car, etc. So today, I'm thinking of warmer places.

For instance, the Bolivian Tropics.

I have two Compassion children who live in the Bolivian Tropics:

Jhon and Rodrigo

Both of these boys live outside the city of Santa Cruz, in a rural area. 

The setting here is tropical, which means it rains a lot. It rains nearly every day, at least for a little while. That means that the ground here is constantly saturated and wet. For families living in poverty, this can mean little protection from disease-causing bugs, like mosquitoes that converge near standing water. Homes are also at-risk of flooding when the rain gets heavy. 

Homes in this region are typically very small, especially for such large families. Bolivians are a tradition of living with their extended families so parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc all live in one house. These homes are typically made of a combination of brick and mud, with iron roofs. Any gaps in the home are covered with wooden boards or plastic sheets. 

Jobs are hard to come back in this region. Some men work as day-laborers, when they can find work. If you don't know how day labor works, let me try to give a short explanation. Any man who is working for a day labor position goes to a specific spot that other men are gathering at. There, they wait. Companies or individuals looking for a few men to help them out for the day, go to that gathering spot and choose the men they want to employee for the day. Men that get chosen get paid a few dollars for their time. The men that don't get chosen for work that day, return home, earning nothing. 

Other families work as farmers, mostly tropical fruit, in this region. After harvesting fruit, they take to selling the fruit on the street. Families that own their own cart business tend to make more money than the laborers, but still not enough to provide for all their needs. 

To help the family, young children are often encouraged to sift through the garbage, in search of metal and plastic to sell, to earn a few cents. 

Since the streets can be such a dangerous place for children, Compassion is working to provide a safe haven for them. Compassion provides classrooms with loving teachers and playgrounds to give kids a safe place to play. 

Compassion also provides academic support to each child. Children are broken into age groups and provided with tutoring sessions. This ensures a good education to each child to help them in the future. 

Like Compassion in every country, children in Bolivia are taught how much God loves them and that God has a great plan for their future. Children are taught to worship with song and dance. 

Compassion in the Bolivian tropics have the following prayer requests: 

- Pray that the children's homes can withstand flooding. 

- Pray for church volunteers and personnel to be instruments used by the Lord as they speak with the young people and hear their reality. 

- Pray that the churches can successfully implement the action plans they developed to respond to the dangers that youth face in this region face. 

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