It's been a long strange trip, to borrow from the famous lyrics of the Grateful Dead. The strangest part, we're not sure when this long trip will end.
This is particularly true for Latin America. As North America and the European Union (including our friends in the U.K.) move from the initial "shock and awe" phase of the pandemic - our colleagues, partners, friends, loved ones, and families in Latin America are feeling the full brunt of SARS-COv-2 and Covid-19. Perú has extended the state of emergency and obligatory quarantine until June 30 - and Brazil, Venezuela and Chile struggle to contain the pandemic and the devastating economic impacts.
Our team on the ground (and those of us in the U.S. supporting from afar) are learning so much. One thing we've really gravitated toward is celebrating the connections. The connections we're making with families in our Ines Project, the new bridges we're building with Paths of Hope and Billy and Kate Greenman on the Tigre Project, and the genuine support we continue to appreciate for the boys in the Casa Girasoles.
One connection we've been trying to make for months has finally been re-formed during the pandemic. A family in the Ines Project, we will call them the Alvarez family, was enrolled in the program for a couple of years. One of the children lives with severe disabilities including poorly controlled seizures. The family, a mother and her four kids, lived in an impoverished settlement in Lima. After months of helping to advocate with the mother, support her to gain better access to health services and stabilize her child's seizures - they picked up and left. Gone, from one day to the next. We tried reconnecting, asking anyone we knew connected to the family where they moved. To no avail.
When the pandemic hit Perú, the first thing we did was reconnect with every family in, and previously enrolled in, the Ines Project. We built a roster of their needs and identified areas where they might be vulnerable - should the quarantine last for more than a few weeks. Well, the quarantine and state of emergency have now lasted for over 70 days. The families in our Ines Project have been receiving a holistic level of support including - daily check-ins, help with online education for their children, food, consultations with our medical team via tele-health, and deliveries of medication. But the family we lost to follow-up has been on the minds of the team.
Well, just this week - the team reconnected with the Alvarez family. The mother, now living in a remote village in the mountains, reached out to Gaby the nurse in the Ines Project. She asked for help. She said they left Lima with the hope they could find a better life in their ancestral community. Unfortunately she told Gaby - things got really desperate when they could not connect with any medical care or support. Unable to get to a phone for weeks - she finally hiked into town, found a shop, and called Gaby.
Our team is now mobilizing a care package of medication, food and supplies. We will send the care package by bus to the closet town and the mother will collect the medication and supplies. We are also reconnecting to provide tele-health services and supports.
In the face of a multitude of challenges, we're connecting and we are celebrating the impact of these connections with the people we are called to serve.
This has been, and will continue to be, a long strange trip. The one thing that we've found makes the biggest difference - connections.
Please stay connected. Let us know how you're doing. Be safe. be well. And, thank you for all your support.
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.