Peru Country Manager Daniel Salazar offers a stirring reflection on displaced children’s action against a seemingly indomitable enemy – COVID-19. We’re reminded by Sagrada Familia’s community that in the face of fear and confusion, we all have a choice to respond with clarity and bravery.
By Daniel Salazar
COVID-19 hit Peru first three weeks ago with the first confirmed case. A week later, the country went in complete lockdown. All borders are completely shut, even to Peruvians. Only supermarkets, banks, and pharmacies are open. No cars or people are allowed on the streets during the day, and there is a strictly enforced curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. The military patrols the streets and have set up roadblocks everywhere. As of today, there are 600 confirmed cases and nine deaths. The president announced today the extension of the lockdown until April 12th.
This scenario sounds like that of many other countries, but it’s worse for most Peruvians. That’s because in Peru, more than 70% of employment is informal. They’re day workers. That means that most Peruvians live off what they make each day. If they can’t work, they simply don’t have the means to live. The situation is even worse in shanty towns, where there is limited access to water and people don’t have the means to rush to buy basic hygiene supplies.
Now picture a children’s home, Global Volunteers’ community partner, hosting 250 abandoned children in the middle of a shanty town. They receive no support from the government or private organizations. They don’t know if they will have enough food tomorrow. And, with limited staff, the children are working extra hard to keep the place clean during the pandemic. Yet, amid the threat of illness, lack of resources, society’s disregard, and even neglect from their own parents, they don’t complain. In fact, they rise up to encourage you – and the whole world – to not lose hope and fight. They’ve produced a song pledging their commitment to encourage the world to stay at home to help one another.
Let’s all fight for our lives on Earth. We will win it from the children’s home.
Be strong brothers around the world, we are ready to be victorious.
Stop right there, COVID-19!
People in Italy, receive all our strength. French and Spanish, we are with you in your pain.
American people, we are hoping for your prompt reaction. My Peru, ready to be victorious!
Stay at home! Stay at home!
They sing it to each other, and to the world, from their little corner of Lima. They’ve produced a video for Peruvians outside the walls of Sagrada Familia. That’s called resilience. Should we just applaud them or should we serve them? They’re using what little they have – their voices – in times of distress. I’ll return to Sagrada Familia to support them as soon as COVID-19 is past. You should join me!