Update on Brea Pozo

Jul 12, 2015   //   by admin   //   Claire's Blog  //  No Comments

On leaving Santiago capital in any direction, it isn´t long before the houses begin to thin out, dotted here and there with a few farm animals outside, and then gradually disappear from view altogether. The road stretches out in one long, dusty line into the horizon, with nothing visible except flat, dry, shrub-filled land on either side of it. It´s at this point that you realise that you are quite literally driving on the road to nowhere.

Yet, just 1hr30 minutes into the middle of nowhere, is a little piece of Heaven. There´s no pearly gates or streets paved with gold; just a rusty metal gate and a dusty, bumpy road. There aren´t glittering palaces or thousands of cherubim and seraphim either; but 7 small classrooms, 2 sparsely equiped dormitories, and 170 precious children.

 

Where to begin to describe our time at the Centro Communitario Rural Evangelico in the village of Brea Pozo? We could give you some facts:

  • Of the 170 children, over 40 board at the school during the week, either because they live too far into the campo (countryside) to travel every day, or because they receive greater care and safety in the school than they would otherwise do at home.
  • Every member of the staff is a Christian who has volunteered to become a form of missionary in order to care and provide for these children. Many of them have travelled from their homelands in other parts of Argentina to work there.
  • A lot of the kids come to schools with their siblings, and there can be anywhere between 4 to 12 children in a family. Many of their parents don´t work, and therefore the children lack a positive role model to motivate them to achieve anything. This also means they have no money for added luxuries including the bus to Santiago capital (around £2.50), and so many of them have never left Brea Pozo, never mind been to a museum or the cinema.

However, these facts fall far short of defining the children, and the atmosphere in CCRE. Every day the staff strive to live as positive role models for the children in their care, and ensure that their faith in Christ is not only evident, but the focal part of their lives. The school day starts with the children learning their memory verse of the week, the teachers take time to pray with them in class, and the boarders also have a time of worship and Bible teaching on a Thursday evening. For us, it was so refreshing to be a part of a school family where Jesus was such an integral part of school life.

 

As for the children? Words cannot express how wonderful and special they are – we only hope that the photos show just a little of it! From the moment we arrived we were on the receiving end of a million-and-one kisses, hugs, questions and smiles, which we were more than happy to receive and give in return. These children are just crying out to be loved – from those who are constantly chatting and seeking attention, to the ones who silently come up to koala hug your waist or hang on to every word you say, to those who put on a cool facade, yet occasionally let you glimpse their sweetness inside. The amount of delight in their faces when Claire remembered their name from last year, or Clara gave them a hug is indescribable.

 

We had the best 2 weeks with these kids – cracking jokes, taking photos, playing games, and making life long friends (we now have a large collection of little Argentine brothers and sisters!) It would take a very long time to describe everything that went on, so for now we´ll give you a brief list and you can ask us for more detail in person (we will be more than happy to tell lots of personal stories, although be warned – they´re likely to be tear-sodden and you may have a hard time shutting us up!):

  • Parachute games: thank you to the 12th Newtownabbey BB for gifting this to the school – the kids had a BALL and it was their new favourite toy – it will be treasured forever!
  • Messy games: this was hilarious – they loved the fact that we were allowing them to lick and stick sweets on other people´s faces, and stick their feet in jelly!
  • Bag dramas: We gave the kids a bag filled with random objects and a Bible story for them to act out, and had a fun evening watching the ´performances´!
  • Treasure hunt: they love a good bit of competition!
  • Craft afternoon: who knew wooden spoons and pipe cleaners could be so entertaining?!
  • Whole school rounders: Total bedlam to try and explain the rules, but they got it so quickly and wanted to play all morning!
  • Learning new games: We spent lots of time with the kids learning some of their favourite games – looking forward to teaching them at home!
  • Football: And there was Claire thinking there´d be none as there´s no World Cup this year – turns out you can´t go to Argentina without pretending to be Messi at some point, or watching a match (in this case the semi-final of the Copa Americana!)

 

Needless to say, a large quantity of tears were shed on the thought of leaving, never mind actually getting on the bus and going home. Since then those kids have been on our hearts and minds 24/7 – everything we do reminds us of them, and how each of them would react to different situations. It is our biggest hope and prayer that it won´t be too long until we see them again.

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