I spoke with a 16 year old mother who lived with 5 other women and their children in a shared room. The rooms were approximately 14 x 14 square feet. From what I understood, her living situation is very common to those in that community. All of us girls shared 1 room, so there were 14 of us packed in like sardines. For mothers that have 9 kids (like several that I met), I cannot imagine fitting all of those people into those rooms every night, along with their food, chairs, and other living supplies.
The first night that we were there we had a bonfire to keep warm. As they were looking for wood or paper to throw into the fire, someone came across a large, hardbound encyclopedia that was in excellent condition. "Oh, this is not worth anything, it´s just a book," was the comment made before it was thrown into the fire. I had a quick reality check of the list of important things in that community-- education and reading being at the bottom of the list. Throughout our days there, as I talked with the kids, I found that very few of them could read. As I "evaluated" an 8 year old, asking her what letter made the "ffffffff" sound, she was clueless. She had no knowledge of letter-sound recoginition. It made me want to stay in the community a few extra weeks, just to teach the alphabet and basic reading skills.
To think that these kids live in the conditions that they do, are illiterate, have very little supervision, and have no one discipling them, was so sad to me. I know that Jesus is hope to the hopeless, but without someone moving there and setting an example, willing to sacrifice their life to teach the people not just education, but the life of following Jesus, it seems almost hopeless. In situations like these, verses such as, "The havest is plenty but the workers are few" come to life and challenge my own life and thinking.
I have so much more to share, and pictures as well, however it is too much to write at once. So, I´ll be posting more about this last week in these next few days....