It’s a common sight these days in the shanty towns of Lima, people roaming the streets in search of anything that could represent a meal.
In normal, pre-COVID19 times, most families managed to feed their children on a regular basis. Their job as a street vendor, cleaning lady, carpenter,… allowed them to make enough money to cover the (real) basics. That has changed dramatically as of the first day of the state of emergency, 2 months ago. Without income, their savings vanished within one or two weeks and since then, finding food has become a real challenge. If they belong to a community, they might get some food from the “olla comun” (community kitchen). If they don’t or if the “olla comun” has run out of food, the street is their only option.
On our trips to bring food to the most remote communities, we see them every day. They are often walking for hours, hoping for the unexpected, begging for a little bit of food for their children. When we deliver food to one of the community kitchens, they come closer and our heart breaks when we overhear them whispering “there might be some leftovers…” We always plan to have some “leftovers” in the car, but there’s never enough.
The state of emergency has been extended until end of June. Once they can go back to work, the situation should go back to “normal” gradually. Until then, we need to give them a helping hand. We need to get them through this crisis. They are survivors, they have survived many extreme situations before. But this fight, they can’t win on their own.
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