It was 3 in the morning and the cold night air penetrated to the bone. The bright eyes of hungry and smelly children shone up from the bottom of the culvert. A little girl slept under cardboard, oblivious to the nauseating smell that permeated the atmosphere, while a boy, half-asleep from the effects of sniffing glue, opened his eyes dully when we flicked the flashlight over him. This was no normal bedroom – it was a hole in the middle of the sewers of Bogota, a dirty and stinking trap where children, rodents, trash and sewage live together.
Thousands of children, youth and adults in our large cities, who for many reasons live in absolute poverty and have not been able to meet the demanding pace of life and society, have sought refuge in places where there is no apparent law. Places where no one cares about anything and the law of the most evil and the most aggressive prevails.
Thousands of urban sewers, designed to carry away the filth of the inhabitants, are now the habitat of these people who call them home. It is a stark reality in today’s developed and globalized world…a desert in the midst of the opulence and strength that surrounds it, and the shame of our “civilized” societies.
It was to these children that CLC came this past Christmas, together with the Children of the Andes Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescue, treat and reintegrate these children from the streets and sewers into society. The Foundation has various steps such as: the approach by rescue patrols, the reception, adaptation, protection, rehabilitation and follow-up after rehabilitation. Despite the difficulties involved, they have managed to rescue nearly 4500 young people who today are a functioning part of society.
CLC came to share a gift of love with these suffering children and we had a beautiful time with 400 kids. We were able to offer refreshments, a toy to bring a smile to their beautiful faces and the most wonderful gift anyone could ever share with them: Jesus the Savior who was born in a humble stable over two thousand years ago. Jesus was presented through a puppet show which taught that God made them wonderful and intelligent, that He loves them and gave them skills, and that He can help them find their way on earth through the Bible. Each child was then given a Bible according to their age.
Jesus had come to the sewers.