THE COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on all our lives over the past couple of months, and the communities we serve in Guatemala and Albania are no exception.
In fact, as is often the case, the most vulnerable people, living with poverty already, are the worst hit in a time of crisis. Many have only day to day income from casual work and when that work suddenly stops, they are left with nothing. On top of that, most of the organisations giving extra help, including our own feeding programmes, have had to be suspended for the time being, leaving many families literally facing starvation. That being said, we are extremely grateful that we have been able to continue to offer significant help to the communities where we work.
In Albania, we were given special permission by the local authorities to distribute food parcels during the time of lockdown, not only to the families of the children who attend our programmes in the villages but also to others, including Roma families, living in these areas. We are so grateful for the willingness of our Albania team to put themselves on the front line to provide this vital help, and the authorities have recognised Living Water Adopt-A-Child as one of the top care providers in the area. The people are so surprised, delighted and grateful when our team turn up with food and gifts for them.
Reported cases of COVID-19 are declining in Albania and thankfully their fragile health system has not been overwhelmed. Lockdown is now easing and people are starting to return to work, including our admin team. Our programmes remain suspended for the moment, but small church groups are now able to meet outdoors and we have been able to run Bible study groups of 5 or 6 people at a time. It has been very encouraging to see new faces wanting to come along and learn more about the Christian faith.
The story was very similar in Guatemala initially. The country went into full lockdown quite early, when cases were still very low, and our programmes were suspended. Again, our teams were given permission to distribute food parcels in the villages where we work. Our main kitchen in Chixocol in the Quiche mountains continued to cook food for distribution to families in the area. However, over the last week or so Covid19 cases have started to rise significantly and stricter lockdown measures have been introduced to try and halt the spread. We are monitoring the situation daily and will continue to provide what help we can within the restrictions.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors and supporters, who have continued with their sponsorship payments throughout this time. With the suspension of the feeding centres, this money has been used to buy items for the food parcels and we would not have been able to provide this vital help without these faithful contributions, and other donations are given to help specifically with the current crisis.
Keep up to date with how things are progressing on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AACLivingWater/ and on the COVID-19 Relief page of our website: https://www.livingwateradoptachild.org/covid19/