In the mid- 90's the city of San Jose (the capital) moved their metropolitan trash dump from one part of the city to another. Poor people and immigrants followed the move so they could continue harvesting things from the trash to feed their family, build their homes, and sell for money. These were the beginnings of La Carpio.
La Carpio is a slum. Located between two small rivers and a landfill it is easily thought of as the bane of society by the residents of the capital, most of whom would never set foot within its boundaries. It is estimated that 40 to 60 thousand people inhabit the overcrowded town. Over half of the population are immigrants from Nicaragua and other Central American countries. The government has little to do with La Carpio which includes a lack of education, health services, sanitary standards, and public safety. It is a dirty and dangerous town. These people are swept under the rug and a series of broken systems keeps it that way.
In spite of these difficult circumstances these people press on and work hard to find a way to provide for their families. They carry on with daily life in the best way they can. It was an encouragement to see the passion and drive Seth and Andrea Sears, with giveDIGNITY, have for the souls of the marginalized people in the slums of San Jose. They are faithful to their call and are instilling dignity back into the lives of forgotten people. They are introducing people to Jesus and lives are being changed.
Our team of seven included a nurse (Olivia), a nurse practitioner (Meredith), and an electrical engineer (Jerry). Their talents were not put to waste. We hosted a two-day medical clinic and served many people with various health issues. We were able to provide a very sick patient with much needed anti-parasite medication who showed overnight improvement and came back the next day with the biggest smile on her face to thank us and give us hugs. Also, given enough time and resources, we are confident that our resident engineer could have left La Carpio better off than even downtown San Jose. He humbled himself and his talents to bring running water, both pressurized and hot, to the property.
Our whole team worked hard and we were all exhausted at the end of the week. It was a week well spent. Here are a few photos to check out, hover your cursor over the photos to read the comments.