What is happening in Peru? Lots of things!! Here is a story from Sister Sabina, a Korean Columban Sister.
She writes about her “Friends in the Mountain”. These are elderly people living in isolated villages spread across the mountains. Most of them live alone in very poor conditions. Their sons and daughters left for the city to find work – often never to return and leaving these elderly parents completely abandoned.
Recently the government started giving a little money each month to the elderly. Many cannot avail of it because they have no documentation and so to all intents and purposes they do not exist. Others are not able for the long journey to collect the money – and there is also the added danger of getting robbed on the way. While some benefit, most do not. We decided to try to do something to help them. Three times a month I go out to the mountain with two companions. We bring food and other things they may need.
Fortunately, we have the use of a car without which we could not do it. It would take days to walk and how could we manage the supplies? Children walk 2-3 hours back and forth to school each day.
First, I visit Mario. He lives alone since his wife died. He is about 70 yrs. Old. He had just one leg, is confined to bed. Sometimes he has no food. He just waits for one of his children to come and help him. It is very sad. He seems to have diabetes. People like him in the mountain just have to live with their illness without any medical treatment.
Next I visit Juan who is over 100 yrs old. His wife died and they had no children. His room is like an outhouse. He can hardly walk. His food is mostly dried potatoes cooked over a little fire in the yard. We bring him powdered milk and oatmeal, a few simple medicines to help with his pains and aches. Most of all we try to bring him love and the assurance that he is not alone.
Next is Clara. She had three daughters who are now widows and one son who died. She needs surgery and her breathing is very poor. How is this poor woman hidden away in the mountains going to get the medical help she needs?
I could go on and on about those FRIENDS who are very precious to me. Once a month we have a gathering in the parish for those who are able to attend. We serve them oatmeal with milk. Then we have a short sharing on some story abut Jesus from the Bible. Volunteers from the youth group offer their services to cut their hair or nails or other personal necessities. That brings us to lunch time. Soup, rice, potatoes and a little chicken is served. Then it is good-bye and back to the mountains with the assurance that “you are not alone. God is with you and so are we”. How different life would be for these people if Sr. Sabina was not there!
Sr. Young Mi, also from Korea, tells us that at Christmas the children in our little school expect to get gifts. Last year something changed. They decided to make gifts and present them to the elderly. They prepared rice, sugar and powdered milk and presented them themselves together with a little entertainment. You can see them in the picture all ready to go. I’m sure it was an enjoyable moment for all present.
Through your prayers and financial support you are present with Srs. Sabina and Young Mi in Peru, with the elderly in the mountains and the children in the school. The impact of their presence and their services on the lives of those young and old is sustained by your continuous generosity – for which we and they are always grateful.