June 15, 2020. As per published on Wells of Hope Facebook page by Ted and Miriam van der Zalm, who are witnessing the situation in Jalapa: Covid-19 is taking its toll here in the mountains of Santa Maria Jalapa. Wells of Hope began working here 16 years ago due to the visible desperate poverty and lack of water for the families living in these mountain communities. We thought that we had seen it all. Then came Coronavirus… Life of some of the most desperate, poverty-stricken families was already unimaginable. Living under nothing more than plastic sheets during the rainy season or sleeping under the coffee trees with their children in tow, of the coffee plantation that is paying them slave labour wages to harvest their coffee. Now that Covid-19 has spread across the world like a wildfire, the term” extreme poverty” has taken on a whole new meaning.
Every morning that we wake up, (and we wake up early. 4:30 a.m.) numerous single mothers (either widowed or abandoned) are already waiting at the gate of Campo Esperanza with their children, begging for food to feed their family. In the attempt to evade a greater disaster, the Covid-19 government restrictions have eliminated the opportunities to earn the few pennies a day that barely kept them alive previously. Now, there is nothing. “There is nothing.” This concept is impossible to digest in the North American culture. We come from a land where is always a back door, not always pretty but there is always a program or institution available where help can be received.
With the generous help of Gleaners from Smithville, Wells of Hope had received a number of cases of dried fruit and vegetables. We were able to feed a few thousand people for a few days but that soon came to an end and the need was still great. Desperate to find a solution, we knocked on many doors in the town of Jalapa. It was not exceedingly long before a few positive responses came back. It seems that everyone was aware of the acute hunger of so many, but the challenge seemed too great to be taken on by a single organization.
Within a few days time, Wells of Hope has brought together the leaders of the indigenous mountain communities, the Women’s aid relief branch of the Municipality of Jalapa, the institution of the Catholic Church and Wells of Hope to begin an intense feeding and nutrition program in the central mountain location of Laguna el Pito, where the most needing families can receive at least one full, nutritious meal a day.
With God (Love) the seemingly impossible must and will become possible. By this Saturday, June 21st, we plan to have the infrastructure in place to begin handing out thousands of nutritious meals to the most desperate, until the Covid-19 restrictions can safely be lifted!
To our generous supporters of Wells of Hope, we need your help once again! This Saturday must happen and continue for at least the next month! Whatever you can give to support this desperately needed initiative will be a blessing to so many women, children and marginalized.
Included you will find pictures of our previous initiatives to get the food provided by Gleaners, to the needing families.