Today the immense need that surrounds us set in for me. We started building a small house for Elizabeth, one of the women who is a member of Luz Divina Curch here in Pucallpa. To see the inside of her current home where she lives with her 3 sons is horrifying at best.
The floor, of course is dirt, and because it is rainy season a good majority of it is mud. The house sits below the dirt road so when the rains come, water floods her house. The beds are up on blocks or tree stumps, whatever is handy, to keep them out of the water. The water runs quickly and the force has eroded many areas of the “floor.” The main walkway inside the house from front to back is elevated but to the right and left it slopes down 2 feet. One of the rooms (and really there are no “walls” so to speak), still is flooded.
There is no electricity. No running water. No nothing – not even food. It is horrible. We were headed to look at the building area Saturday and one man on the construction team told me before we entered the house that the conditions inside were “a disaster.” If some of the people from here are affected by her living conditions then you can imagine the severity of the condition of her home. The walls were eaten by termites. Bugs, flies, cockroaches and other insects were present throughout. The green mold that grows in stagnant water and humid ground was everywhere. Stray dogs come in and out of the house looking for food and a place to escape the heavy rains or intense sun. The outdoor bathroom really is no bathroom at all. There are 3 walls to provide some sense of privacy. No toilet – just boards on the ground. No shower – just a large plastic bowl used to scoop water out of the buckets that are put out to catch rainwater and remnants of soap. All this surrounded by the humid moss covered ground. Can you even begin to imagine life this way?
Inside view of her “bathroom”
We had just put in 4 posts that will help support the elevated floor of the new home when the heavy rains starting falling. As we sat inside on the 2 x 4’s waiting for the rain to let up, I looked at the wet floor under my feet and a wave of empathy and sadness flowed over me. I can only imagine what dirt and/or water bourne diseases and germs are present. I can only imagine what it is like to try and stay dry under a roof that leaks. With no running water, I can only imagine how someone could possibly keep themselves clean in an environment of bugs, dogs, mold, trash and mud. Day in and day out this woman deals with this situation. Day in and day out she does the best she can. I tried to imagine life for her as a constant. I can only imagine it and then again I don’t really think I can truly imagine it. And yet, she lives it every day of her life.
After 30 minutes of rain, this picture shows the water running over the ditches, onto the road ad into homes. There is just no time to prepare.
We were blessed to pass by Ninfa’s house earlier this week. She is the woman who we built a house for in November. to look at her- you see a totally new woman. Her face is glowing, actually radiant. She has set up a “mini restaurant type stand” outside of her house. She prepare and grills food, serving it on a disheveled table where people in the neighborhood can come and eat. The night we walked by her table was full. She looks so much different – happy and content. It was amazing to see her. And that my friends is what it is all about. That was a tremendous blessing for Cindy and I.
Still there are many more people in need of help. And yet they have hope – hope they have in Jesus and that is overflowing.
As always – in His Mighty Grip,