Greetings,

I thought this would be a great reminder to the team traveling to Sumpango as well paint a picture for those of you who will be following the blog. Thanks to the Kingston's who have spent time in Guatemala for providing this information.

"...Imagine getting up at 5 a.m. to go to work in the fields until late in the afternoon, Monday through Saturday. Your children, sometimes as young as six, often need to work alongside you in order for you to fulfill your quota. That means that they cannot attend school, but you have little choice because if they don't help you, you may not be able to feed them. Your farming implements are crude - often just a machete. For this backbreaking work, the average pay is about 60 Quetzales, or about $7.50 per day - which is in violation of federal wage standards but common nonetheless.

With this money, you can just barely afford to feed your family (almost half of children under 5 suffer from malnutrition). There is no money left over to save for children's education, for clothes, for health care, for retirement. Your children often grow up to do the same work you do. Even if you have been able to allow them to attend school, they have no means to pay for a university education. In addition to your work in the fields, you need to collect wood for cooking. This involves more hacking with a machete. Then, your dinner is cooked over an open indoor fire, putting the health of you and your children at great risk. Indoor air pollution is the fifth leading cause of death in the developing world, most of it due to long-term smoke inhalation from cooking.

...the average person in Guatemala would consider the poor in the U.S. to be quite wealthy."

We look forward to sharing God's love with the people of Sumpango. Please pray for safe travel and unity of our team as well as open hearts for the people we will be serving.

Beth

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