If you read last month’s newsletter “Lockdown in Manchay,” then you already know how dire the situation with COVID-19 in Peru is. Mass lockdowns have taken everyone’s sources of income and sense of purpose, and thousands are struggling to feed their families. Many understandably went out in spite of the government’s attempted societal control to sell their wares in markets and ply their trades, but that only spread the virus and worsened the problem.
If you know all of that, then you should also know how the people’s spirits could not be dampened. Utilizing the skills they learned in our gardening program, they turned to their gardens to keep their bellies full and their spirits high. But even that involved some courage.The Peruvian government refused to allow people to tend to their own gardens, instead preferring to just let the vegetables that grow there die. In order to harvest, which needed to be done in March and April, some people had to claim to local police that they were simply going on their once-daily single-person trips to the few markets that were sanctioned to continue operating. Food there is now at a premium, with skyrocketing demand and diminishing supply making it unaffordable.
The people are more self-sufficient than they’ve ever been; but with COVID-19 guidelines in place, there’s only so much teaching that Communities for Life is able to do. It’s important to step in where we and our friends are needed. TeamUp, for example, sent us $4000 to prepare food baskets, and our sincerest thanks go to them. Our coaches haven’t been playing any soccer with their communities, so they are generously filling their time preparing and distributing the baskets. Samaritan’s Purse also stepped up in an amazing way, making a large donation to help feed Peru’s hungry.
Through our partnerships with Samaritan’s Purse and TeamUp, we’ve helped feed many. But the need is still dire. And it extends beyond food. The teachers at the New Life Training Center suddenly found themselves out of work when the school was shut down. With parents unable to pay the tuition, their modest salaries came to an immediate halt. They adapted by trying to continue teaching online and over WhatsApp, but internet access is limited and you can imagine the difficulties of teaching a class of people through a cell phone.