Saturday, June 19, 2010

Atmit Distribution and Foundation for Disabled children

We have had two choice experiences the last couple of week. One was participating in a donation ceremony of Atmit in Giron, a small colonial city near Bucaramanga. There was some concern about security and the above picture shows the two policeman that were assigned to stay with us throughout the ceremony. The first policeman never left my side.

There was a big crowd of moms and their children when we arrived. The distribution took place on the school grounds of a village of displaced people in the colonial city of Giron. Some had lost their homes in a huge flood five years ago. The majority were forced out of their houses and off their land by drug trafficers, right wing paramilitary groups or left wing guerillas.

We were accompanied to the distribution by Stake Presidente Ardila on my right and the director of the local hospital on Royals left. The woman is the nutritionist that works with these families.

It was a hot humid day and we were seated waiting for them to bring an umbrella to shade us. The poor man with the umbrella stood and shaded us for over an hour during the distribution.

After several speeches including remarks by Royal, we began the distribution. All the recipients had been interviewed prior to the ceremony and their names were on a list.

What a wonderful experience it was giving each mom a two month supply of Atmit for her young children. It was a day we shall always remember.

The children were all intrigued as to what was in those bright colored packages.

This is a photo of a house in the village I took as we were leaving. We were told there is one bathroom to accomodate the entire village. There is a washboard outside of the bathroom where the women do their wash. Before receiving the ATMIT the children all were deloused. Most children have worms as a result of drinking poluted water and the general lack of hygienic conditions.

Earlier in the week we were honored to attend the closing ceremony of a project that we had requested and closed. It was for a new refrigerator, new floors and paint to paint the walls of a facility that cares for mentally handicapped children. Imagine the emotion as we drove up and saw this sign on the door.

The facility has teachers, social workers and nutritionists. It has over 50 children that come each day from the ages 3 to 18 although I also think there are some older students in this group. They performed several musical numbers and danced for us. It was wonderful.

This is just a few of the young people that attend this school every day.

One of the things that impressed me is how the director allows the children to take responsibility for various things. This young man acted as a tour guide for us as we looked at the freshly painted walls and new floor. It made the place so much brighter.

The children made us thank you cards and this paper mache elephant that Royal is holding. It is adorable and I wish we could bring it home. I am holding a wall decoration that they made for us as well.