I knew I was behind on my updates, but I didn't realize that my last one was in January. I was starting to get e-mails asking if I was OK and if I was still here. Yes!!! to both questions.
For a quick recap:
I was home on furlough for Thanksgiving and I stayed in Lima for about a week, so I could spend Christmas there. I got back to Iquitos on December 26th. I took over the children's Sunday School program at our church in El Terminal, so that Lydia and her team could take a break for a coulple of months.
When I got back, I got busy right away with the kids, since they were getting ready to go back to school soon. I had some money left over from last years donations for Matriculations, so I was able to help several of the kids with that. I also had money in the Children's Account because there is a family who has been sending monthly faithfully for the children since 2005 and a few other people are starting to help us with the children's fund. So I decided to help the kids with school supplies and uniforms this year. I made ways for them to earn prizes by memorizing verses, the prizes being school supplies.
I have been here five years now and continue to learn, since I was more involved in helping the children prepare for school this year, I learned more about the school system.
I was really surprized by the amount of supplies that the children have to get especially those in Kidergarten and first grade. The education in Peru is free like in the States, but the schools here don't have many supplies, so the kids have to provide not only thier uniforms, notebooks, pencils etc. but pencil sharpeners, glue, rulers, scissors, crayons, markers, tape etc. they even have to bring their own towels, T.P. and contribute for the drinking water. So yes, the education is free but you just sit there unless you can bring the materials you need for that day.
It is always hard to decide who to help and who not to, but now that I know the kids better and thier family situations, that helps to decide. many families are struggling financially so I could only help the ones with the most needs. For example Adriana, I didn't even know her but I knew her brother Alex, he was one of the shoe shine boys when I got to Iquitos in 2004. He is 18 now and moved back home; (there are many reasons why the boys live on the streets and sometimes they have good reasons), Anyway Alex not only moved back home but he is now taking care of his mom and little sister Adriana. He also found two of his siblings that he didn't know, and one of them a half sister who is also 18 moved in with them.
So Alex not only has a new life, he is the only support for the family. He drives a moto-car and brings home just enough for food for the family. While we were talking one day he mentioned that he really wanted to get his sister in School, she was 8 and had never been in school yet. To complicate matters she didn't even have a birth certificate, so legally she didn't exist.
I decided to help Alex and we started the process of getting her birth certificate, it was long drawn out process, with lots of running around and lots of sitting and waiting to be called, but we finally got it taken care of. I was also able to get Adriana her uniform and school supplies, I wish you could have seen her, she was so happy and proud to go to school for the first time with her new uniform and backpack full of school supplies.
Unfortunately, she got hepititis about the third week of school, luckily we were able to help her with the medical costs for that too. So she is back in school and doing good.
That is one of our success stories, there are also some not so successful stories; like Roca one of the shoe shine boys who is about 16 now. I mentioned him in my last update. He was telling me he really wanted to go back to school, he has been out for about 4 years. His mom never worried about his education, she just worried that he bring some money home every night. Roca didn't have a birth certificate either, that is why he had to leave school. Well we started the process only to find out that his mom didn't have any ID either and didn't want to get one. So I talked to a lawyer friend who gave me the details of what We needed to do. We started the process only to have Roca disappear for about 6 weeks, it turns out he met a tourist and they went travelling together down one of the rivers. We missed the start of the school year and I haven't seen much of Roca since, he is hanging out with the party crowd now.
Jose, Raul & Jeremy continue to go when possible, the river is higher than it has been since 1992, so they haven't been able to go the past two weeks.
The water is very high this year and that causes many problems for the children in Belen. The houses are on rafts with spaces between the floor boards, so the children live and sleep with lots of humidity, this causes lots of coughs. Also their outhouses just float along with them so the water is contaminated, but the kids swim in the water just the same. And when they come in the house they come in with wet feet and wet shoes, which brings disease to the little ones who don't even swim yet.
There are two girls, 17 and 18 who work watching motorcycles for change. They both have babies 18 months old, the babies had diarrhea for about two weeks before I got back to Iquitos and we tried many medicines for about another two weeks. Bruce got better but Cindy didn't, We finally took Cindy to the Doctor because she was getting really sick and he said if we hadn't brought her in, she wouldn't have lasted very much longer, she was very weak at this point. It is so hard to decide at what point we need to go to the Doctors, because our budget is small and diarrhea is so common in Belen, but praise the Lord we got Cindy medical help in time. She has had diarrhea a coulple of times again since then.
Katy & Maria with thier babies
Cindy & Bruce
Cindy & Bruce
Belen is flooded now and we aren't doing any minstry down there right now. I didn't know that rats were such a problem down there at night, but since it is flooded the rats are living in the thatch roofs and come down at night. The kids have been getting rat bites while they sleep.
Jeremy left for Lima today and he will be there for Sandra's graduation.
Here is a link to
Jeremy's Web-Page ,
I am in the process of getting ready for a Pastor's Conference in June. We have the flyers ready and will be visiting River Pastor's to invite them. We hope to make a few river trips to hand out the invitations.
The boys aren't doing to good, we found out they have been going to a club in Belen, and they aren't coming to church regularly anymore.
Many of the kids are now becoming 17,18,19, it would be great if we could sponsor them to get some kind of training. They can take a basic four month, computer class that teaches Windows, Word, Excel, PowerPoint for about $150. This is a good start for many of them. There are also One and two year programs, where they can learn mechanics, cosmotology, electrical, etc.. If you would like to contribute towards this, you can send a check to "Teen Training" or e-mail me with any questions.
If you are not sure what to do with your old Laptop, we would love to have it. We can use it to teach the kids some computer skills. It would also be nice to show the words to our music on powerpoint at the church. I hate to mention it but if it is over ten years old, it won't be much use to us. There are teams coming down this year, so if you have one you can contact me and I'll put you in contact with one of the team leaders.
If you would like to contribute to any of the following ministries\expenses:
Friends of CCBC, Peru (CCBC = Calvary Chapel Bible College, Peru) 1771 E. Palomar Street Chula Vista, CA 91913 Memo: "Iquitos - XXX"
(Where XXX = Ministry House, River Ministry, General Fund, Children's Ministry, etc...)
*Note: The dollar is currently 2.89 or 289 soles for every $100 (U.S.).
Thank you all for your prayers and financial support. and God Bless Albert Smith
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