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Helping in the Land of Endless Need

When talking to others we often refer to Guatemala as the Land of Endless Need.  And compared to the States it certainly feels like that.  Many poor folks in the Guatemalan Highlands live in conditions reminiscent of the mid 19th century.  They have one or two rooms and no electricity or perhaps one light bulb.  Dirt floors are still common.  And they eat what they have grown themselves or nothing.   And of course, they don’t have indoor plumbing.
With their limited education, often combined with mental handicaps from the scarcities of childhood, it does seem like there is no way out for them.  There are just no opportunities.  No jobs.  No government programs for the poor.  In two words: NO HOPE.  I think this explains much of the alcoholism among the men who often cannot support their families.
So how do you help with conditions like that?  How do you make decisions where to invest your time and money so that it does the most good?
After prayerful consideration the best place to start seemed to us to be the next generation.  Our outreach programs are centered around this idea.  Then in turn, these children will be able to help their parents in their old age.  These programs are open to all in the community, which is important, and have a definite ending point so they do not encourage dependency.
Is there anything we can do for the families mentioned in a previous blog whose lives are in such pitiful shape?  Please pray as we ask ourselves and the different community leaders if there is a way that does not create a sense of dependency or entitlement.  We have teams every year that want to build.  We are considering developing a house construction plan for those in the most desperate circumstances.

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