Archive for poor

Hope for the Poor: Vital Vitamins

Posted in hope, Life in Juarez with tags , , , , , , , on 08/31/2009 by mistylindsey

Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

James 1:26-27

This past weekend we had a short but amazing visit from a kindred spirit who even before arriving had a passion for our neighbors here in Juarez, Mexico. Chris Knott, who spent time and effort raising awareness for Amigos back in Colorado by asking for healthcare donations or anything that would be helpful, came down for a powerful weekend and brought with him 19,804 vitamin tablets, 166 toothbrushes and 70 tubes of toothpaste. He also had a Santa-bag full of toys to give out to the kids.

Table of Vitamins zoom

After sorting and compiling the table-full of healthcare items, we headed out Saturday early morning to the neighbors’ homes to hand out health. We were hugged and kissed, and bombarded by neighbors from all directions who heard that someone had vitamins. It was a powerful morning.

Neighbors

Carmen & MagiWe gave instructions on how to give the kids their chewable vitamins, and about not eating the toothpaste.

MaryThis is going to make all the difference for these kids, who certainly don’t get the vitamins from the basic meals they eat, when their parents can even afford them.

VitaminsVitamins are a luxury which, with the exception of us, no one in this neighborhood can afford. It was heartbreakingly beautiful to see our sweet neighbor, Elvira, clap and nearly leap with joy as her face lit up when we told her we had vitamins just for her. Without teeth, she has not been able to eat properly and has been sapped of energy. This will be a tremendous and necessary sustenance for Elvira today, and so many children to whom protein and regular meals are a sparse hope.

Border Land

Posted in Life in Juarez, Matt and Misty Lindsey, Violence in Juarez with tags , , , , , , , on 04/19/2009 by mattlindsey

A world where half of the people live in extreme poverty is neither just nor secure. Our security depends on more than military might; it depends on other people’s security, well-being, and a hope that replaces anger and fear. We simply cannot and will not beat “swords into plowshares” (remove the threats of war) until all people can “sit under their own vines and fig trees” and have some share in global security. Only then will we remove the fear that leads inevitably to conflict and violence.

~Jim Wallis

June 17th 2008 was a sizzling day , we melted onto the grotesque tile floor just as the power went out. It was enough to make us laugh and brush away the tears that were streaking our faces. It had been a long and heinous day. One of those days where reality is shaken and shock creeps into your core. “We just moved to Juarez? Really?”

No power meant no lights and no swamp cooler. Misty made some stick-to-the-top-of-your-mouth almond butter and honey sandwiches on our dry crumbly bread, and I carried a couple of chairs outside where there was at least a breeze pushing the air around. There was no comfort in the sandwiches so we tossed them and decided to climb onto the roof of our new house to see just where we had willingly chosen to torture ourselves. A warm breeze, strange sounds, bizarre smells and swirling lights collided with all things familar and wrecked our senses. Ranchero music pumped through the thick air. The street was alive. This was Mexico. Our hearts, which had been so gripped, so white-knuckled by the stress of the day, began to relax. With smiles growing on our tired faces, we spun to face north and there it was: the string of lights burning a yellow line in the desert sand, dividing two worlds. We had no idea at that moment just how powerful the lucid borderline was, that those yellow bulbs would have the power to hold back the violence like a sea wall breaking down waves.  We were ignorant to the unruly power that an imaginary line can wield.  Those lights, that fence, we would learn, would be a reckless assurance that El Paso would continue to bear the gleaming badge of the 3rd safest city in the U.S.  That obnoxious string of lights which has severed humanity and has carved a deep and bloody line in the desert sand has become the dividing line between a hopeless reality and the American dream. It has mutated into an insolent eyesore.  

City Lights

That night the bulbs glared and shimmered. Later, when the power returned and we lay down on our air-mattress under the creaks and rattles of the swamp cooler, we closed our eyes but the ghost-like glint of yellow continued to radiate under our eyelids. In just a few months from our arrival, Ciudad Juarez would rise in the ranks as the murder capital of Mexico, gringos would stop crossing the border, the media’s buzzing and thoughtless words would lash and whip this lonely city, the grip of fear would tighten like a leash over America, the Western Church would take a step back. 

The air is getting warm and heavy over the desert. All of the deciduous trees have exploded with life; flares of green bursting out of the dust. The spring winds have descended. At times it seems that the jet stream has abandoned its heavenly course and fallen on the land: nature’s way of raking the trash away and cleansing the desert. Hope is alive and well. I dare you to come and check it out.

 

 

~The photo above was shot by Axel Briseño. Last week we met Alex, a talented photographer and software programmer from Ciudad Juarez. He has started a photo-club and he and his compadres have posted some powerful photos. The photos are currently on display in downtown Juarez. Please take a minute to scroll through these incredible photos of our city. Check out Alex’s great Blog and Photo Club site.  Thanks for your help & friendship, Alex!

The Desert Challenge

Posted in Life in Juarez with tags , , , , on 04/10/2009 by mmlindsey

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready-made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head. 
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer. 

When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you 
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something 
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor. 
Love someone who does not deserve it.

(excerpt from Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front by Wendell Berry)

Abuelo