La Familia Baez: Introduction

September 25, 2011

J and I went out to visit the Baez family tonight. They are essentially who we call our resident orphans and together they are seven in number. Valentina is seven years old, Juan Carlos is nine, Vanessa is twelve, Ruth is thirteen, and Jessica is fifteen. Joana, the oldest and the one who takes care of the entire brood, is just seventeen years old and has her own one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Karina. All the children have different fathers–some fathers are unknown, others maintain minimal contact at best–and their mother has abandoned them to live with another suitor. Karina’s father is also not in the picture.

Their aunt, who has her own set of family problems (volume of blog entries for another time…), allows them to stay in the one room shack behind her “house.” I didn’t go inside on this visit, but from where I was seated, I could tell the quarters were cramped, filthy, and of course, devoid of anything resembling electricity or clean water.

On weekdays, the five younger kids get two free meals a day at the comedor by school. Joana works seven days a week, nine hours a day to try to provide food on the weekends. But between daily bus fare for everyone, diapers for the baby (K’s butt is constantly rashed because they can’t always afford to change her diaper…), and daycare also for the baby, this doesn’t always happen. They scrounge where they can and starve when they can’t.

We sat and visited for awhile, watching as the children filtered in and out, bathed in grime and so severely hungry for affection. Heartbreak is far beyond the poverty that is both cruelly physical and emotional. I had a difficult time writing this entry. It is hard to express in words the desperation I simultaneously witnessed and felt in the face of such lacking. But these are the situations God has somehow called me to and the stories America needs to hear.

Instead of the usual initials, I have included names in this entry, so that you can pray with me for each of these children specifically. Whether you believe that there is a God or not, send some love–in thought or prayer–to Paraguay. And pursue joy and dwell in thankfulness because we are so richly blessed.

One Response to “La Familia Baez: Introduction”

  1. […] Some background on the Baez Family here. […]

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