Team Blue - Kara, Amber, Amy, Jodi, Casie, Lauren
Today extreme poverty met us face to face. Words can’t even begin to explain what our group (group blue) saw. My emotions were ever changing as I walked down the street; from sadness, to anger, to desperation, to guilt, and finally rested on injustice. How is it fair that people- human beings like you and I- could live in such awful conditions? How is it fair that I have grown up so blessed in an environment so incomparable?
I will do my best to try and summarize what I saw:
Garbage flooded every part of the community. It oozed from the houses, ebbed in the streams, covered the pathways, and decorated the fences. The houses were a mix of broken brick, branches of trees, and even cardboard. The smell is one that I will never forget, smelling of death and feces combined. We walked down the streets trying to be friendly. A few politely said hi, while most either glared at us or ignored us. One woman even started cursing and yelling at us. I felt ashamed that we were like rich tourists only observing their lifestyle from a distance. I wanted to go and help clean up the garbage or play with the kids, however, it was much to dangerous to stop walking.
Chacorita is the poorest of the poor in Paraguay. It is hidden from the road by the beautiful parliament building. The government officials almost didn’t even let our group of white Canadian girls led by a local and renowned Pastor walk through this community. Our translator did not speak much English so all we knew was that it was a community full of drugs, prostitution, and teenage mothers.
After reaching the end of the Chacorita, we ran into the main road. We walked along the path back to the Nutrition Center where we had begun our tour. Along the way we saw all the Paraguayan government buildings. They were massive and extravagant. We stopped to take a tour inside one of the museums. Our whole group couldn’t bare to look at the museum after what we had just encountered, so we quickly turned around and left.
It felt like I was in Vancouver. One minute I was walking down East Hastings look at the homeless, and the next moment I was on Granville shopping. This was one hundred times worse. I felt sick to my stomach. I was upset with the government of Paraguay for closing their eyes to the poverty that was literally one block away from them. I realized that It was no different in Canada. How could I be mad at these people, when I do the same thing!
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, “Let me help you get rid of the speck in your eye, when you cant see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” – Matthew 7:3-5
It was a very hard sight to see today, but I know God has not forgotten about this community. God’s love knows no limits and I know he is working; even in the poorest slums in Paraguay.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39