This is my last post form Cochabamba and I have only an hour before I leave for my last shift at the orphanage. I appreciate all the kind words and special thanks to those of you for donations for diapers for the care of these lovely children.
On that note, a blogger wrote me and asked "Is there a solution to poverty?" The question, through its simplicity, struck a chord in me. I have already seen so much need and I haven't even been to Tanzania, Jamaica, nor the Navajo Nation yet. I feel overwhelmed already when I think of the problem of insufficient water, sanitation, medicine, food and clothing I've seen so far. It is hard to believe in the liklihood of a solution to this human condition, a fate which is faced daily by the overwhelming majority of people on this planet.
Nonetheless, it is so much more encouraging and promising to look at the grains of sand rather than the whole beach. The above photos, the last in the series of a rural school that I visited and posted about the last two days, provides a rich example.
The top picture, of some nicely dressed girls leaving school through a gate with no wall. The wall has tumbled and will require resources from already totally impoverished community members before it can be rebuilt. In the meantime local farmers take shifts at the gate to ensure the safety of the school. I have witnessed on this trip strong community involvement by those who seemingly can least afford the time.
The second photo is of three unfinished classrooms built entirely by donations and labor provided by Amizade college student volunteers in conjunction with local masons. Each room still needs the installation of a corrugated roof which cost $1500.00 a piece before the space can be used. The project started a few years ago, but has floundered due to lack of funds. The economic downturn in the U.S. has seriously curtailed the number of students able to participate in oversea's programs and reduced the ability of philanthropic organizations to raise nominal money.
The last photo clarifies what sufficient resources and international cooperation can accomplish to improve the quality of life in this region. I taught English to these lovely, eager, intelligent children the other day in one of these classrooms built through Amizade. This "friendship" is a commodity that America does well to export. It is more valuable because it is genuine. At a time, in a world fraught with fear and negativity, these acts of random kindness bring a positive message to those who, not by their own actions, but by historical coincidence, have found themselves in a labyrinth of poverty. It is appreciated by the people beyond words.