You know the old saying, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” We have the opportunity to do some of that long term help with a family at Torre Fuerte.
I met Angie and Lisbeth on my first trip to Peru, a youth mission trip to the Torre Fuerte home. We learned that they were not orphaned, or abused, or abandoned, but their family was simply too poor to be able to raise them.
We found their home to be pretty much like the others in this very poor area, called Horacio Zevallos. Most of the houses were simply dry stacked bricks with a piece of corrugated metal for a door and another, held down with rocks, for the roof. There were a few houses with electricity, but not much else in the way of utilities.
We arrived at the site to find the foundation ditches for the new house already dug. We filled the mixer with sand, stones and cement, and then wheel barrowed the finished mix to the ditches.
The next day we tied re-bar to make the columns that would be the framework for the house. When we left, there were re-bar columns reaching up from the concrete foundation. All of that happened two years ago.
Last week I was finally able to make a return trip to the house. Not only have the walls and roof been finished, but they have now managed to double the size of the house. It is still small by US standards, but it has turned out to be a very nice home, with a beautiful tiled floor.
The reason for my visit was more than just curiosity, though. Angie turned 15 this year, which is a big deal in Peru. In place of a big party like most girls get, Angie has opted to spend any gift money on starting a small store in part of the house. She and Lisbeth have learned how to run a small tienda like this during their time living at Torre Fuerte. I visited to be able to see the plan, and how we could help Angie with her dream.
This week I returned with Davey, the oldest of the four siblings. We worked together to build a partition between a bedroom in the house, and what will be the new tienda.
It is not only Angie, but Davey also, who wants to see the family able to provide for themselves by operating their own business.
Davey is working hard to make this dream a reality. He wants to learn all he can in the process. Somehow the family has been able to acquire an old glass display/counter and and a metal shelf unit. Davey is working on cleaning, scraping, and repainting both of those, and then we’ll replace a few panes of glass in the showcase.
The biggest expense left is stocking the store, something along the lines of the store at the front of Torre Fuerte. Maybe you could help with that? A small section of the Torre Fuerte store can be seen in the photo, behind another of our girls here.
What is happening with this family is part of our dream and long term goal at the Torre Fuerte home. We want to do more than simply house these girls and then turn them out on the street when they come of age. We want to prepare them to make their way in life. For some that will mean the university; for others learning a trade; and for this family, a business of their own.
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. – 1 John 3:17-18