Every Thursday Egli, a local woman, comes by late in the afternoon to give me Spanish lessons. This last time we sat out on the patio while about a dozen enthusiastic children played loudly in the yard. After a few moments, Egli looked at me and said, "Do all these children live here?"
"No," I replied. "Most of them are children who attend our Sunday school. They are spending more and more time here." Almost every day, in fact. Having so many kids around all the time is often a great trial of one´s patience, but they have no other playground except the streets. We want them to think of our place as a shelter.
We had the children invite their fathers or some male relative for special Father´s Day festivities today. We talked about the importance of the father's role in the family as set forth in the Bible, then we had the men (and the two adult women who showed up) play games with the children.
We have been visited twice by teams of inspectors from the two state agencies which supervise preschools here. Both teams were favorably impressed by our existing facilities and the construction that is underway. It was gratifying to hear our site described the best-looking and most well-maintained of the preschools that they had visited.
Luz Maria and I are now visiting two families. In one case, the woman of the house was profoundly affected by the recent deaths by electrocution in this area (resulting from frequent power outages and unpredictable surges when the electricity comes back on-line). In the other case, a daughter was badly injured in an automobile accident and the cost of her medical treatments seems to be more than the family can afford. Like many Venezuelans, these families are struggling to find some spiritual foundation, something that will enable them to cope with hard times.