Friday, February 2, 2007

A Village of Hope: Villa Esperanza

Thank you for the wonderful responses and questions regarding our Colombia posting on Wednesday. The number of children we work with here in Colombia is overwhelming...over 40,000! As you can imagine, we will only see a few of them on this trip. We wish we could take personal greetings to each of them from their sponsors, but realistically, that is just not possible. But please know that, without exception, the children we’re meeting are eager to convey the same message to their sponsors: “We appreciate you!”

While what you are seeing may not be your specific child's home, the poverty here is so overwhelming that there's not much difference in how most of the families live. These photos and stories really represent most of the families we work with. And now a little bit about a community that we visited this week…

For the more than 2,000 sponsored children who live there, Villa Esperanza isn’t just a place they call home, but a place they find hope.

In this area, Children International provided the building materials and other resources for the construction of 250 new homes – permanent structures of concrete block. The sponsored families who live in these homes now have a place to call their own. Gone are the worries of crumbling shacks and the dangers of inadequate sanitary facilities. The worries have been replaced by a solid infrastructure. Running water, electricity and a modern sewage system provide welcome relief to families who never had such luxuries in the past.

While many residents came from rural areas of the country seeking refuge from paramilitary violence, others saw Villa Esperanza as an opportunity for a better way of life. Today, many of the sponsored families who reside here earn a living as construction workers or as street vendors selling miscellaneous items such as fruit, water and candies. And one enterprising mom has even started her own preschool for neighborhood children after completing her own education as an adult.

The Colombian spirit is easy to find here. Flowering trees line the streets, while brightly painted modern houses pay homage to a lively cultural heritage. For these children, hoping for a better home is no longer a dream. In Villa Esperanza, it is a reality.

1 comment:

Sandra said...

Hello everybody,

Thank you very much for this blog, its great to be able to communicate so easily. I also want to thank you for showing how great Colombia is and for sharing the pictures and experiences you have had so far. I am from Colombia as other people who have posted comments and right now I am living in the US. Being outside my country has made me more sensitive about the hard life many people have in my country, specially kids. That is why it feels great to know that not only me but so many people are sponsoring children in Colombia and in many other countries.

My sponsored child is Rosa Maria Garcia Rubio, she lives in Cartagena with her family, if you see her please say hi and tell her that i am proud of how well she is doing at school and that I hope I can meet her someday.

Thank you again