2017 saw a series of disasters, both in North America, and around the world. One of those that received too-little attention was a devastating mudslide in Mocoa, Colombia. In the early morning hours of April 1, 2017, increased rainfall caused the Mocoa, Sangoyaco and Mulata Rivers to overflow, which in turn generated a mudslide in the municipality of Mocoa, capital of the state of Putumayo. Over 20,000 men, women, and children were made homeless, the local water and sewer systems were badly affected, ten local roads and seven bridges sustained damage. Six neighborhoods were totally destroyed and seventeen were seriously damaged.
Because many of the folks in the Mocoa area depend for their livelihoods on agriculture -- growing cassava, coffee, cacao, among others, as well as raising poultry -- the mudslide triggered a serious threat of food shortages for hundreds of residents. Agricultural production capacity was completely destroyed due to the disaster. The local market was also destroyed, and with no income from these activities, many residents could no longer pay the debts they'd incurred for small business or agricultural purposes.
Through your gifts and prayers, Week of Compassion was able to work with partners to assist the residents of this disaster through immediate supply of food, water, and temporary shelter, along with cash gifts to 150 households to allow them to resume their work quickly and to pay livelihood-related debts. Disciples Global Mission Partner Michael Joseph reports "Some bought hens, some pigs, and some bought supplies for family-run businesses (stores, beauty salons, barber shops and restaurants). The project also provided them with workshops in trauma recovery, investing, and financial skills." Michael also shared some of the thoughts from those this effort helped: "This project helped us take a step forward. Today my wounds are healed. Now I can go forward even stronger than before." "With this money I was able to get my beauty salon up and running. I even had enough money left over to buy something for my children for Christmas. Thank you for giving us this money with no strings attached." "This project has allowed me to start over again. When I lost everything I felt so small. I asked several banks for loans, but they turned me away because I had lost everything. This aid has allowed me to be reborn."
It is truly amazing what such a seemingly small amount per family has been able to do to allow folks to quickly recover from their losses and move forward with their lives and work!
Thank you for your gifts that helped make these things possible.
As we enter the season of Lent, we recall that God created humans from the muck and the mud. From dust we were created and to dust we will return, yet through the love of God we are also reborn into eternal and abundant life. We pray for you and our partners for a blessed Lenten season.