The Situation of the Andean People
Christmas is my favorite time of year. I start to play Christmas Carols right after Labor Day trying to stretch out this great season of peace and good will toward men. I use this season to re-awaken my spirit of giving and share what I have with those who are destitute having little hope for the future. Unless you have actually seen, in person on one of our expeditions, the plight of those living who have no hope for the future, it is difficult to communicate how urgent the needs of the poor and destitute are in reality.
Of the over 2 billion people who live in abject poverty Hope Projects concentrates it resources and attention to about 3 million poor people of the high Andes and the Amazon Basin. Other than Hope Projects these 3 million people have been forgotten by their own government and the world for nearly 500 years.
These people have no water half the year and then filthy water the next 6 months, no medical services, no functioning schools, no relief from starvation, no way to earn money, no United Nations interest, no bail out, and no hope for any change in the future.
Since I became aware of the horrible situation of these people, I along with the help of our many donors have made a difference in the lives of thousands of people who have heretofore been ignored, but now have hope for the future. We have been able to reduce the death rate by 80% in the lives of over 450,000 forgotten people, but it has taken us over 10 years and 3 million dollars to do this.
Money limits the number of people we can help. Even though 100% of all donations goes to provide building materials and farm animal pairs to the poor and those we assist provide all the labor themselves to build clean water systems, medical clinics, school classrooms, barns, etc.; there are still 2.5 million people who we have not helped, that desperately need our assistance just to keep alive.
Let me illustrate the excruciating personal and social hardship we experienced on our last trip to the high Andes of South America in October, 2009, by sharing with you one the consequences of the chronic destitution we typically see as we visit villages where Hope Projects have not yet been able to help.
Even though we have never visited a particular poor village, they know who we are and the thousand of lives that have been save through Hope Projects.
They desperately want and need our help, for example: A tearful mother came up to my wife Ella and gently placed her infant in Ella’s arms, asked her to take it, to nourish it, to save it; for she could not. I need to somehow convey to you the terrible emotion of that situation.
It is misery enough to have no means. More so to have no help; but I tell you here that it is a far, far greater tragedy to have no hope. We all cried inside for the anguish of this young mother whose most compelling act of love imaginable was to offer her child to another that it might be saved…for she could not.
That night with our hearts broke and our pillows wet, it was a sleepless night, prayerful, powerful, and never to be forgotten, and we resolved to share whatever of our worldly possessions were necessary to relieve an anguished young mother.
This scene repeats itself over and over again as we visit other poor villages who have asked Hope Projects for our help with a clean water system, medical clinic, etc., but we have to say,” No we can’t help you now, but we will put you on our village waiting list, of over 200 villages, and share your plight with our American friends and try to get you some help soon”.
It rips my heart apart to have to say no I can’t help you. I know the next time I visit this village many deaths will have occurred that could have been saved if we had more money. This is the reason I am sending this Christmas letter-to ask you to help these deserving poor help themselves.
Thousands of lives are being saved every year by our projects of clean water, schools, health education, green houses, farm animal pairs, medical clinics and 25 other different help projects. We provide the building materials, farm animal pairs, a little technical assistance and they provide all the labor.
The poor people in our villages are willing to work hard to better their situation. We also are assisting 355 children in four orphanages who without our help would be returned back into the streets to live out of garbage cans until disease and starvation takes their lives.
Villages on our waiting list have met our commitment requirement by making over 5000 adobe blocks, cleared/leveled the land for their project, and obtained signatures of all villagers promising to do all of the labor for their project.
The projects for next year range from a simple barn for raising llamas, a 6 room school house, and helping to support over 355 orphans. 100% of all donations are used as you choose either for building materials for a Hope project, farm animal pair, or to support an orphan; $25 to $50/month will care for an orphan depending on his or her age. We have other projects ranging from $25 for a flock of chickens to $10,000 to helping a whole village over a 4 year period.
All donations are tax deductible and all donations made during November and December will be matched by us and the board of directors. In our brochure/gift catalog there are four full pages of photos showing over 60 finished projects and six Hope Projects school/factories. Last year we built 6 medical clinics, 16 classrooms, 4 village water systems, 4 bathrooms/septic tank systems, 1 kindergarten building, assisted 355 orphans establish small animal farms and money making projects and expanded our Jewelry and roof tile school/factories.
We are in challenging economical times, yet we still are blessed with enough that we can share a little of what we have to give hope to those poor who have nothing, but are children of God and have a right to live. Please help us to lift the heavy burdens of death and poverty off from the shoulders of these very poor hard working people of South America.
May the blessing of our Creator be upon you and your family during this holiday season and the coming years.