Meet Alejandro: Alejandro is a 29-year-old single dad with five children. His children range in age from three to thirteen. His wife died three years ago from an infection that developed just after giving birth to their fifth child.
Alejandro and his children live in a little two-room hut made from tree branches, plastic sheeting and rusty tin. It is all they can afford given Alejandro’s campesino salary of $48.00 per month.
Alejandro works hard. Very hard. He walks six blocks to the bus stop, takes a bus to the countryside, and then continues to walk almost three miles until he reaches the farm. Alejandro tills and works the ground with a small shovel and the sweat of his brow. After ten hours working in the hot sun, he makes the ninety-minute trek back home to his family. Alejandro helps his 13-year-old daughter prepare dinner. Dinner tonight – and every night – consists of rice and beans.
After dinner Alejandro spends time with the children before tucking them into bed. Three of the younger children sleep on a homemade mattress made from old clothing shredded and tucked inside a sheet that was hand sewn to keep the material in. Alejandro and the older two children sleep on a piece of cardboard spread out on the dirt floor.
Alejandro tries to sleep too, but he is burdened by his anxieties. Carlito, his five year old has had diarrhea for over a month now and is very pale and weak. It’s likely a parasite, an easy ailment to remedy, but Alejandro does not have the money for the medication that the doctor prescribed. Enrique, his eleven year old, has been hanging out with the older boys who live in the streets. How long before he gives in to the temptation to peddle and use drugs? The older three children were enrolled in school last year, but this year Alejandro doesn’t have the money for the school supplies that are required for them to attend the public school. How will his children ever have a better life if they can’t go to school?
Finally, his mind and body give in to exhaustion and Alejandro falls asleep, only to wake up the next morning to the same life circumstances.
Amigo de la Familia, a program of Los Rayos de Esperanza, connects families in the U.S. with families in Nicaragua. The U.S. family commits to praying for the family, communicates with the family if possible, and assists the family in ways that lead to self-sustainability and a better quality of life.
The friend of the family may help to provide education for the children by supplying the items they need to be able to go to school. They may help provide job training for the parents, or in some emergency situations, they may provide assistance with food and housing.
The goal of the program is to shine God’s rays of hope on these families by loving them, praying for them, and helping to get the family on the path to becoming more self-sufficient.
Nicaraguan Families enrolled in the program may receive the following:
▪ A Bible and referral to a good local church if they are not already a part of one
▪ Educational support and counseling for the parent(s) that will help them to improve their health and strengthen their family (marriage, parenting, health, nutrition, etc.)
▪ Educational assistance for the children by providing school supplies and uniforms for them to attend school
▪ Assistance with job training and access to better jobs through transportation
▪ Regular visits from our mission staff to support, encourage, and pray for the family
▪ In extreme situations, the family may receive emergency assistance for the necessities of life (food staples, adequate shelter, clothing, beds to sleep in, medicine)
U.S. Families who wish to participate in the program will receive the following:
▪ A photo of your family along with a detailed family profile
▪ Communication and updates about your family and from your family at least twice per year
▪ The joy and satisfaction of knowing that you, out of your abundance, have helped a family in abject poverty and in so doing have truly made a difference in the world
▪ The invitation to visit your family in Nicaragua if you ever have opportunity to travel. Assistance with the logistics of and accommodations for family visits is also provided.