Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our Friends in Colombia

So for the past 2 summers Beth and I have travelled to Popayan, Colombia and helped out in an impoverished area just outside the town, called El Sendero. We've helped serve food to children, shared about Canada, led some songs in Spanish, participated in some church services, handed out treat bags, visited some families in their homes (shacks really), and I even tried to help dig a ditch last year (didn't last too long at that - figured having a heart attack in South America was not a wise thing). These trips have been eye opening and life-changing for us. We were so surprised that just our simple act of showing up and taking an interest was such an enormous encouragement to them. It really gives them a sense of hope to know that people from another country care about them.
We've also met, and stayed with, a variety of wonderful folks who are more well-off (some doctors, dentists, lawyers) that support the work in El Sendero. Their openness and warmth towards us was so sincere that we found ourselves falling deeply in love with this country and these people. Our friend Jenny has done a lot of work in this area to help many of the families who are experiencing difficulties. One of the biggest projects has been the building of a community centre and while it's not fully completed yet a daycare for young children has been opened in the main room.
Tonight we were part of a Fiesta that was put on to raise funds and make others aware of the needs in El Sendero. We served over 80 people and the program included Colombian singing and dancing. It was a great success and we raised a significant amount of money to support the work down there.
For the past year we've committed to giving regular monthly donations to help Jenny meet the needs of those she comes in contact with. One of the families that she has used this money for is a man who's wife was murdered and he is left to raise 4 children, including younger twins. He is wanting to build a small home for his family in the mountains and last year we went up a very rough road to help deliver roof tiles for him. It means a lot to us that we can be part of their life.
This year we're not sure if we can swing another visit. I keep going back and forth in my mind. I think we'll wait to see the income tax return results before making a final decision.
Musically, this week I've enjoyed listening to some old time Christian rock: Phil Keaggy's "Sunday's Child" and "Crimson/Blue", along with Russ Taff's "The Way Home" and his untitled release. Gave a closer listen (with lyric sheet in hand) to Josh Ritter's "The Animal Years". Last couple of days it was Neal Morse's "One" which is a neat progressive rock opera of The Redemption story.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Terry:

It's extremely cool that you've been able to go to the same location for the past two summers. I'm sure the families in Popayan, Colombia appreciate your friendship a lot. Splurge and go back again this summer!

I'm looking forward to hearing more about the Fiesta tomorrow night!