Yesterday (March 4) was the first day we had the privelege to visit a project. We visited Project 586 in the north eastern part of Cochabamba. As we drove there, the scenery slowly turned from a bustling, inner city - clean and well kept, wide streets with beautiful store fronts to dirt roads, brick buildings that could serve as homes or businesses, sometimes both at the same time. What struck me was the beauty, still. The barrio (neighborhood) we visited was once an agricultural center were farmers tended their fields and raised cattle for milk, but since there has been an influx of indigenous people moving into that area, there was no longer space for the farmers. The farmers moved further out of the city and the primary occupation now is brick layer / cement worker.
Project 586 welcomed us with open arms, a beautiful sign and some of the most breathtaking smiles you can imagine. This project is home to a CSP - child survival program, intended for moms and their itty bitties. This program is intended to help mothers better care for their little ones by teaching them how to interact, wash and bathe them, what good hygeine is and why it matters, how to prepare food, and the list goes on. Lydia, the project director, rode the bus from the inner city to the project with us and told us all about how this project works. One thing that stuck with me is that currently Project 586 supports over 300 kids (316 if I remember corrrectly) and they have 6 paid staff and one volunteer looking after all of these kids. The numbers didn't stick with me as much as her heart for what she does - you guys, she and her staff are living hands and feet of our Lord Jesus!!
After we were greeted, the project kids put on a little program for us, introduced themselves, gave us gifts, and then we got to mingle. I chatted with a young mom named Mariel. Her little girl, Blanca is three years old and has been at the project for just over 6 months. She is three, but developmentally is about the age of a two year old. She has a thyroid malfunction that affects her growth. Mariel beamed when she told me since Blanca has been coming to the project she takes "una pastillal cada dia" - takes a pill each day to help regulate her thyroid and has been growing! Praise God! Blanca cannot speak, but she understands everything you tell her. She LOVES to share (in fact, she shared her snack with me :) and loves babies. The gift the mom's gave us was "una muneca" - a doll - they had created as well as a doiley they made. Blanca was drawn to my little doll, wrapped her up and started rocking her. She so reminded me of my little Sophie - they rocked their babies the same way. Although our differences are many, there are some profound universaltilies between us and the way Blanca rocked and cradled and loved that "munecita" brought me back to my living room and playing dolls with my baby girl.
Ok - I'm out of time, but we'll be back with more about yesterday afternoon. Home visits to three of the mom's residence that are participating in the CSP. Almost too much to take in on one day let alone one blog post.
Thank you for the prayers! Keep praying that God would break our hearts for what breaks His... my quiet time inadverdently took me to Isaiah 61 - "He binds up the brokenhearted..." Thank you, Jesus!
Off to Project 712 today - the first of 3 days at this project.