I have good news and bad news.
The bad news is that things in Peru are getting worse
It’s not the coronavirus (yet). It’s the tremendous police and military presence, the inability for anyone to leave their homes, and the desperation driving people who are unable to work and therefore unable to eat.
10,000 military troops have taken to the streets to enforce the strict stay-at-home orders. 23,000 people have been arrested so far. Gangs are breaking into people’s homes and stealing their food. Hunger–with no immediate relief in sight–makes people desperate. And desperate people make desperate decisions. There have been people around our buildings in Lima trying to pick the lock. Building residents are keeping watch
Volunteers are stranded
We still have volunteers there on the ground. Only one–(my sister, a doctor) has made it back so far. They are doing the best they can in the current situation. We know that the U.S. Embassy is working on getting them back to the U.S. They will no doubt be coming back to a very different country than they left at the beginning of March.
There are some real things we are looking at as an organization. Getting our volunteers home is one thing: Making sure the people we leave behind are cared for is another. These are not strangers or just numbers in a program, they are our friends. A friend loves all the time.
There is no back-up plan
Back in January, we moved 70 refugees from Venezuela into our newly-leased apartment buildings. W We planned to use the first three months of the year to get everyone stabilized. And then starting April 1, all of the adults would be working. Some had started businesses and others had job offers in hand when the country-wide quarantine hit a few weeks ago. All of those efforts are now on hold. We don’t have a plan B.
We know that the quarantine is extended until April 12 right now, but we really don’t believe that things will be back to normal by then.
We have to take it day by day. Right now that means ensuring we can feed the ones who are living in our buildings and have no way to make money. They want to work, but for now, they can’t.
Here’s the good news!
We have a generous donor who has agreed to match every donation up to $10,000! That means that $20 to feed one person becomes $40 to feed two people.
We can do this! If you have already donated, please share our story with your friends. Our biggest challenge right now is reaching beyond the people we already know and YOU can help us with that!
When we tell our stranded volunteers and all the ones stuck in our buildings about your efforts here it really lifts them up.
We have always been about fighting for something new. There is something new happening in us as we fight for ones who really need it.
Thank you for your continued support! Please let us know if you have any ideas for raising or obtaining more funds for our friends in Peru during this unprecedented season.