Thursday was a gorgeous, sunny day, and after breakfast on the refreshingly windy third floor terrace where we take our meals, we made the 20 minute trip through Santiago to “La Mosca,” translated, the Fly, where we ministered to about 60 – 70 kids at the G.O. Ministries nutrition center. La Mosca is a gathering of (1,000? 5,000?) squatters who have made their homes next a great mountain of garbage (I will add pictures soon).
All in all, it was a sight of sadness. Scrawny, emaciated dogs were everywhere. Purposeless human beings leaned against posts and sat on “porches.” Upon arrival at the nutrition center, John warned us about the significant dangers of disease (after we touched anything, including the people, we were always to keep our hands away from our faces) and then, as we got out of the van, five to 10 little urchins surrounded him and began hanging on him like metal shards to a magnet. When John disappeared to set up our visit, I became the magnet. Apparently these kids didn’t care who was loving them – they just wanted a friend to play.
Our ministry seemed to go very well. The little VBS that the Knowlton family set up went well, complete with a skit and a nice little craft that we spent hours preparing for what we think will be a total of 300 kids (more kids’ ministry in other locales was to come) – Sycamore trees out of paper bags. We helped the La Mosca kids with their crafts, served lunch, had a conversation in broken English/Spanish with a couple of teenagers, and then wandered over about 50 yards for a greater view of the garbage.
A river of sludge from the festering trash ran next to the mountain of refuse. Beautiful little girls played nearby on steps made of used tires. One man wandered through the mountain looking for treasure, often shards of metal that can be traded for cash which will bring meager sustenance. One “home” seemed especially close, and a couple was sitting in the back. The woman asked John why he hadn’t brought them something, a completed craft, I suppose, and he said when he had tried to invite them and their kids to the gathering, they were outdoors engaged in… do you want to guess?
Would you call this love in La Mosca? I hesitate to do so. Sex maybe, but I would cast serious doubt on love. There are many children in this place, but also many single mothers. Men use these women and leave them, cruelly treating them just like the mountain of refuse where they make their homes.
Come, Lord Jesus.