These past few months have been a very trying time worldwide, with each country being affected in a different way than the others, either directly with many cases of the virus, or indirectly from lockdowns, curfews, collapsed health and/or economic systems, etc.
It is interesting to see how each country handles the situation, depending upon their social and political structure, and how that affects the general population.
Here in Ecuador, the socialistic government has taken a lot of the normal everyday privileges away from the people by invoking a state of emergency that so far has gone for over 5 months now, with instated curfews, travel restrictions and mandatory lock-ins.
For the last two months the government has gradually been allowing more freedoms, such as allowing most of the population to return to their jobs, although under restricted time frames, less curfew time, allowing local public transportation to run again, and more days a week in which we are allowed to leave our homes to go to the stores, as well as the local authorities having some control on deciding what set of restrictions apply to their zones, depending on the number of virus cases, how quickly it is propagating, etc…
Many restrictions are still in place, including an eight-hour curfew, restrictions on only leaving your homes for work or to buy food, and certain days of the week in which you can drive your vehicle, as well as mandatory distancing and the wearing of facemasks.
Our country, which was already struggling politically and economically before the crisis, has gone into a downward spiral from which we have yet to stop falling. Although economically things are a little better, now that over 50% of the population can once again resume their work duties, after almost three months where the only work allowed was for essential workers and those that could work from home, there are still many who have not been able to go back to work, many small businesses that have gone under, and many families that are still struggling to make ends meet on a day to day basis.
Many of the families that we have reached out too have told us how the food kits are an answer to prayer, how they have had no food to eat, or have only been eating one meal a day.
We are so grateful to be able to assist them and speak some hope in their lives, partnering with international donors, and local churches and food kitchens, who assist us in handing out food kits to these families. God has been so good, and in the last three months we have handed out almost 1,000 food kits!!
We have handed out the food kits in 8 different cities/areas, both from our local ministry and through partnering churches and a community center/food kitchen in the hardest impacted areas. Many of these families were eating one meal of plain rice a day, and it was such a blessing to see first hand and hear from our ministry partners how this blessing greatly impacted their lives! Many of these families have been shut in at home and not able to go out to work for the past 5 months per government orders, were single mothers with no source of income, and a number of them have lost family members to the virus. Even those that have recovered from the virus are not allowed to go back to work for at least a month after they have recovered.
We are also working alongside a community kitchen in a very hard-hit city on the coast, which is serving 60 hot lunches a day to the homeless and single mothers, and many more people are coming asking for food and assistance.
We are so thankful to God and to each person that has come alongside and partnered with us in handing out these food kits!
Each food kit costs about $15, and although what is inside varies by location, it contains enough food for about a week. It is so amazing to see the hope and joy in their faces as they receive the food, and to hear their stories and heartfelt thanks! I wish that each one of you would be able to hear and see first hand the difference that it is making their lives!
Mark, Cinthia, Daniel and Esteban Blosser
Serving in Ecuador