17 Apr COVID-19: Snapshots from Our Community Partners
There are moments when our purpose becomes clear. This is one of those moments. For Dorie’s Promise, our primary purpose is to transform the lives of children in our home. At the same time, we’re called to serve and support those who are changing lives and empowering families in Guatemala. Even now, our Community Outreach Director Bertha remains connected to needs outside our home. This week, we’re offering two very different snapshots from our community partners in San Nicolas and Santiago Sacatepequez.
COVID-19 is slowly encroaching on Santiago Sacatepequez. Four of its surrounding communities have confirmed cases with hundreds of people in preventive quarantine. Unconfirmed as of yet, a few test results are pending in Santiago Sacatepequez.
For this community, their proximity to jobs and larger communities is both a blessing and a risk.
Families in Santiago Sacatepequez are living much like those of us in the United States right now. They can visit the local market for groceries, provided they wear a mask. A greeter welcomes shoppers, monitors the number of people inside at all times, squirts hand sanitizer on patrons, and reminds everyone of appropriate social distancing. Essential services like banks and municipal offices also remain open with the same precautions.
Farmworkers are still harvesting. Families are tending their gardens. For now, families in Santiago Sacatepequez and the local government have adequate supplies to meet their needs.
The families of San Nicolas are facing a very different situation currently. Thankfully, there are no suspected cases of COVID-19 in the village. Unfortunately, the economic effects of the pandemic have already reached this village.
Very quickly, all public transportation and non-essential businesses in Guatemala were shut down to limit the spread of COVID-19. Without public transportation, many essential workers are unable to reach their jobs. In San Nicolas, 60 of 150 families are now without an income. Looking ahead, seasonal vegetable harvesting jobs will soon end as Guatemala enters its dry season. At that point, more families will be without work.
Families in San Nicolas are facing a dire situation. Consisting of only a few mainly dirt roads, their village doesn’t have a local market, only a few small tiendas. Without public transportation, they can’t reach the neighboring town. Even if they could get there, without jobs they can’t buy anything. Face masks and hand sanitizer don’t seem very important when people can’t buy food.
Better Together and Continuing Our Mission
Even though we’ve spent over a decade working with families in impoverished communities, this situation is different. Especially now, we’re better together and still working.
Bertha keeps in contact regularly with our community partners, even when she isn’t scheduling work projects. She’s always aware of the needs within the communities and how we can help.
Before the most recent curfew restrictions were enacted, Rodrigo, our community partner in San Nicolas, was able to visit the offices of Dorie’s Promise. We sent him back to San Nicolas with a load of food and supplies to help the children at his tutoring center. Even now, he continues to offer meals and the regularity of tutoring a few days each week. Although the travel and curfew restrictions make it more difficult, he is dedicated to the children of San Nicolas.
When it’s safe and restrictions are lifted, we’ll return to San Nicolas to help in person as well.
For now, we ask you to pray for families throughout Guatemala facing dire situations. Bertha continues to support our community partners until you can return to help her. For regular updates and pictures from Dorie’s Promise, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.