The city of Trujillo has a growing population of 800,000 people. The area of town where we have been working is called “El Milagro” (the miracle) with a resident population of 12,000+. The city's garbage facility is located in this area, which receives the garbage from the whole metropolitan area. Many of the people in El Milagro are involved directly or indirectly in making their living from extracting cardboard, plastics or anything of value from the garbage pits. Whole families, including small children, work in almost inhumane conditions to make a few dollars a day, and some even live on the dump itself. It is to these people that we have been reaching out and whose lives we strive to make better.
One of the first things we did was to organize a holiday party for 200 of these children and many of their parents. We collected food, clothing and toys, and our three youngest children performed songs while the other young people helped to serve refreshments, and hand out clothing and other presents.
We have since taken on the job of improving the housing and living conditions for poor families in El Milagro. One typical family has 4 small children and hails from a rural area of the mountain region. They are trying to build a structure in El Milagro and are currently without running water or electricity, living in a makeshift hut. Los Andes Project adopted this family and is committed to help them with materials and labor so that they can have adequate housing, as well as donating beds, a stove and other household items. (This house is now complete with running water and electricity.)
We then began educational classes with the young people in the area, as well as taking them on recreational and educational outings to different parts of the city.