Hey everyone, it’s been three months since our last update and things have been a little crazy/ different down here.
We have continued to be in the legal lockdown which has been prescribed by the President of Colombia and also by our local government in Leticia. At this time, we are continuing with most of the biosecurity protocols that have been put in place since March. Masks are required at all times outside of your home. To enter most establishments, you are required to wash your hands, apply hand sanitizer and the bottom your shoes must be dipped in hand sanitizer or some type of sanitizing solution. In some locations there is a tunnel like thing that you need to walk through that sprays sanitizing solution all over your entire body. We’ve also had locations where your backpack or purse needs to be wiped down and cleaned. Other locations require face shields and eye goggles to be worn as well. For the most part, people in the Leticia don’t have problems with adhering to these guidelines. We still have a daily curfew in place and most locations of 2:00pm and most businesses are also closed by early afternoon. Some restaurants are now allowed to remain open for delivery later into the evening. That’s a “small” representation of our requirements.
If you’ve followed any posts on social media from people here in Leticia then you’ll know that we had a kind of a scare with our healthcare system back in April and May when the majority of our doctors had either quit or had to actually contracted Coronavirus. Our clinics were understaffed and in need of a lot of supplies and the city felt that national government wasn’t providing the necessary help needed for this region. Praise the Lord that a lot of that has change; doctors and healthcare workers have been sent from the larger cities to come here and staff the clinics. Large amounts of testing are being done and many medical supplies have been provided. A lot of churches and ministries have started food programs and health stations to help monitor not only the people in the city but some of the indigenous groups that live further out in the jungle.
Quarantine was recently extended to August 1. Extending quarantine keeps all the current restrictions in place along with the continued restriction of one person per family being allowed out of the house one day a week for four hours. Other than those four hours you are not allowed out and children and elderly are by no means allowed out. These restrictions make it difficult to accomplish much especially when a visit to the bank can take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours.
In our last update we shared about how we had to quickly move all the children out of La Aljaba and we had to close down most of our day-to-day operations. Since then, La Aljaba has been unable to continue with the normal program so the decision was made to use some of our monthly support for a food distribution program. Each and every month La Aljaba families have been receiving groceries, cleaning products and personal hygiene supplies. This has been a big blessing for the families and has been a blessing for our staff to be able to continue to work together and help others. The food program allows us to interact with the families in a more personal way. We can find out how they are doing and what other ways we may be able to help.
Our tutors have also continued helping our students with their “distance-learning”. This has been quite an adventure because the internet is hardly reliable and sometimes non-existent. Trying to communicate schoolwork from teachers to students can be very difficult. Teachers typically are communicating through WhatsApp(a messaging app that most people in Colombia use). They send study guides based on a particular subject with somewhat detailed information that students need to read. This becomes very difficult because a lot of students don’t have the necessary textbooks because their books are either still at school or they never had them in the first place. So many of the children are only learning by Googling answers. This is why it’s been very important for our tutors to continue communicating and helping our children even through this lockdown. We are so thankful for their dedication to our children and also so grateful we have permission to invite a few children to La Aljaba each day to do this.
The original plan was that school was supposed to reopen in August but we believe that this will not be the case. Especially since the quarantine was extended for the 5th time. There is a strong possibility school will not restart until February (the beginning of a new school year for them).
We are continuing to rely on the Lord for all upcoming decisions. We are definitely living in chaotic times but we take refuge in the fact that the Lord is sovereign and that He has authority over all!! We are so grateful for your continued prayers and support. We have not lost one single donor during this pandemic and we rejoice that the Lord continues to provide through each of you.
We look forward to the day when our classrooms are full of children again but until then we will continue to ensure they are fed, tutored through WhatsApp or in person and most importantly that they are prayed for.
Michael and Julie Hogue
This blog is written to share the love of Jesus and how He uses us to care for the needs of the children of La Aljaba.