Monday, 27 April 2009

The community of Puerto Camacho

Puerto Camacho is a poor community situated on the outskirts of the city of El Alto where the majority of housing is constructed form adobe bricks where large families with 6 – 12 children live. Water and electricity can be found there, however it lacks a sewerage system resulting in its inhabitants using the river as a toilet. Roads are made of dirt and are very uneven and in poor condition, so much so that no public transport ventures that far, requiring its residents to walk for 30 – 45 minutes in order to reach a main road.

Life for the people of Puerto Camacho is difficult as people struggle to find jobs and scrape together a living from the meagre pay they may receive from manual labour. Many of the children in this community are left to fend for themselves day after day whilst parents work to try and keep the family going. Others have simply been abandoned. A cycle of poverty is repeated generation after generation as children are unable to finish their education and find better paid jobs.

But there is hope, through the grace of God it is possible for this community to change for the better. That is exactly what the work of FH through the love of God in this community hopes to achieve.

Puerto Camacho

Last Saturday we visited a poor community in El Alto called ‘Puerto Camacho’ in order to be part of a celebration for all the children that live there. Before going we were a little apprehensive as to what to expect, but the whole morning was good fun and enjoyed by all.

All the children from the community had been invited along with their parents to come and take part in the morning. There was quite a sizable team of FH staff at the event so there wasn’t much for us to be doing other than observing all the goings on and getting involved where we could.

After the formal introductions the event kicked off with a troop of about 20 clowns doing dances, games and a drama. On first appearance they all looked a bit scary as they all bundled out of a little minivan, but once they got underway they weren’t so bad. They soon had all the children taking part in the dancing and a giant round of Limbo!

After all the fun and games it was time for a snack and a little breather. So how does one organise over 800 children to receive a snack and gift without duplicating? I was amazed how orderly it all happened with 4 lines divided girls and boys. Each was marked with a pen before receiving their goodies and returning to their seats.

No sooner was that over then we were off again with a drama with the gospel message, more dancing then a puppet show emphasising the importance of accepting everybody no matter what their skin colour or situation (there is much racial discrimination within this county between the darker skinned Indigenous people and the mixed race fairer skinned, so such a message holds great significance).

Some of the children were then able to show off some of their own talents by either reciting a poem or singing a song, which they did really well. That brought us to the end of the morning.

Much fun and many smiley happy faces!