Tag : homeless

May 31, 2012


Our guide, Rolando, said we needed to visit the City Cemetery before we went to see the orphanages. I thought, “OK, that’s weird, but I’m up for anything. Let’s go.” The City Cemetery was nothing like I had ever seen. There were thousands of people in the HUGE cemetery – many whom LIVED there. All of bodies are buried above ground like you see in New Orleans. I took only a few photos of the people who live in the cemetery because it seemed so strange – almost disrespectful. Later during the trip, we would go out with Giusepe and serve meals and preach to the people who live in the cemetery. (Look for those photos in a later post.) The cemetery people turned out to be some of the most warm and open people I’ve ever met in a foreign country.




There were rows and rows like this throughout the huge cemetery.



Families “rent” space for their loved ones in the City Cemetery. If the families fail to keep current on the “rent,” the City Cemetery “evicts” the bodies and throws the remains into a large common grave. I kid you not. They actually “evict” the remains! See those open holes on the wall – those folks were evicted because their families failed to keep current on the rent. Wow.  Now that’s something I’ve never seen before.





A rich family, apparently.



One of the residents of the City Cemetery.



The back side of the City Cemetery.



The world-famous Guatemala City Dump borders the City Cemetery.



You can see how much trash has been placed into the large ravine. The trash pile is hundreds of feet deep. Also, many people scrounge through the trash trying to find anything of value. The smell is horrendous, and hundreds of buzzards fly overhead.



Buzzards above the City Dump.





May 27, 2012


We visited one of the smaller tent cities in Port-au-Prince, Haiti where Rev. Jean Claude Sylvain has done a lot of work and where some of his congregation live. I didn’t take too many photos because the people living there did not appear comfortable with me taking photos. It seems hard to believe that it has been two years since the earthquake, and so many people are still living in makeshift shelters.





This couple is related to one of the pastors who work with Rev. Jean Claude Sylvain. They turned half of their tent into a little store for the people living in the tent city.



May 23, 2012


A beggar coming up to our van as we drive through the broken streets and crazy traffic.  It’s been two years since the earthquake in Haiti, and Port-au-Prince is still in disaster relief mode. As soon as you land, your senses and emotions are assaulted. There has reportedly been $2 Billion sent to Haiti for disaster relief, but you sure can’t see any results. The people are simply surviving from one day to the next. Malnutrition and homelessness are rampant. I didn’t see a nice building, home or restaurant the entire time I was in Haiti. The tent cities are huge and heart-wrenching. As I went to bed the first night in Port-au-Prince, I thought of the thousands of Christians in Haiti who have no job, no home, no resource and no support. There are so many ministry opportunities in Haiti. Thankfully, Children’s HopeChest in working with orphanages in Haiti and trying to bring hope and a future to orphans and abandoned children.






The Haitian equivalent of the White House.



The location of the Haitian Supreme Court.



A typical street in Port-au-Prince.



The market in Port-au-Prince, where most of the people shop.




Rubble is still everywhere.



March 21, 2012


This is the city dump in Nicaragua, and this young man is searching through the trash for anything of value. The city dump always has parts that are burning, and the smell is unforgettable. It’s hard to believe that so many people live and “work” in the dump.



March 8, 2012


I always at a quandary when homeless guys ask for money as I walk by. This gentleman in New York seemed very nice. What do we do? I’m always afraid that if I just give cash that the money will just be used to buy alcohol or drugs, so I sometimes give food coupons for grocery stores. I still don’t know if I’m doing the right thing.



January 14, 2012


While traveling through Nicaragua, we met Michael and Joan Vilasi (vilasi@live.com), who had moved from America to start a home for abused and abandoned girls on the Isle of Ometepe, Nicaragua.  The girls at the home were awesome – so sweet and appreciative for the support of American Christians.



January 7, 2012



Managua, Nicaragua. We were taken to the huge city dump in Managua, and I was surprised to see so many people living and working in the dump. I noticed this make-shift home, and we got out to meet the people. This is Jacqueline and her baby. She is remarkably cordial and welcoming. We discovered that there is a Christian mission on the edge of the dump that prepares two meals of rice and beans each day for the people who live in the area.


The locals call the people who live in the dump Los Paupérrimo, or the very poor. The average person living in Managua is very poor by American standards, but the people living in the dump have far less. They seem to spend hours each day sorting through the trash trying to find things that have some value.


It’s hard to see people living in squalor. Thank the Lord for those Christians that operate the food ministry on the edge of the dump so the people at least get two meals each day.



December 22, 2011


This is Ron.  We’ve been friends for at least 10 years.  He has been in and out of prison and homeless at times.  I sometimes give him “King Sooper’s Food Coupons,” but he gets most of his meals from downtown restaurants.  Ron is currently living in an apartment and doing odd jobs for various restaurants.  He has staked out the corner of Tejon and Pikes Peak, and his regular line is, “Can you spare any change?”  There are numerous homeless people who beg along Tejon Street (which is like our main street), and I often wonder what is the appropriate response for Christians.



December 14, 2011
This is Marvin, a soup kitchen volunteer at The Marion House in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  The Marion House serves 600-800 lunches each day for the poor and homeless.  Marvin has been serving as a volunteer there for more than 10 years.  Today, the whole volunteer staff was from First Presbyterian Church.  If anyone wants to volunteer at the soup kitchen, the volunteer coordinator is Francisco Mora, 14 West Bijou Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado at 719.866.6559.  The website for The Marion House is www.ccharitiescs.org and the email is info@ccharitiescs.org.