The lights turn on, joy fills the air, and an atmosphere of peace surrounds the imposing mountains in the Andes of southern Ecuador. Although the area is quite cold and the rain soaks the fields, nothing can dampen the Christmas spirit in the community of Saraguro. 

In this indigenous community, Christmas is a time when families come together. Despite their difficult circumstances, Christmas is highly anticipated. Christmas is celebrated with food, bringing together all members of the family. The crops, grains, vegetables, and products grown and harvested by the people, are carefully prepared to make a great traditional dinner, where people share stories. 

In this community, poverty has forced many people to migrate to faraway cities and even to other countries for work. This year, the pandemic has increased poverty, climate change has destroyed much of the crops, and most migrants will not return home due to shortages of money and jobs.  

"These are difficult times. They don't have enough food or resources, and I've seen a lot of concern in the eyes of the people here," says Miguel, the director of the Compassion project in Saraguro.

In a house on a high mountain slope lives Jenny, an Indigenous mother. She works daily in the fields, trying to recover what little remains of the corn damaged by the hail that has pummelled the earth in recent weeks. Jenny is concerned to see that the little corn she had planted has been lost, and even more distressed because her husband who lives and works in the Amazon, will not return to spend Christmas with her. He does not have enough money to return, leaving Jenny alone with their three children. However, the family was in for a beautiful surprise.

On a rainy day, Miguel makes the journey up the mountain on the dirt road with his arms full of gifts. Arriving tired and almost out of breath, he goes from home to home, distributing groceries with a big smile so families have food at Christmas. Jenny’s children Josselin, Javier and Mayte, welcomed Miguel with hugs and laughter. Their sadness and anguish disappeared and the atmosphere is once again full of happiness and peace.  


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Compassion director Miguel, Jenny, Mayte, Joselin and Javier. The family standing outside their home with their Christmas box filled with food and treats.

The grocery box is full of food such as rice, flour, lentils, beans and vegetables, but there are also lots of cookies and sweets for the children. Joselin cannot wait to open the box to see what Brother Miguel, as he is affectionately known in the community, has brought for their family.   

"I am happy because we have food for Christmas. My mother was sad, but now she is delighted," Joselin says. Hope returns to the community's families as provision and food will not be lacking in the homes of the nearly 400 children who live in the area. Despite the difficult situation, Compassion's church partners are bringing blessings and food to the neediest families throughout the country. 
 

Untitled-design-(18).jpg Joselin is overjoyed that her family will have enough food for Christmas.

"My husband is far away and he will not be able to come to see us at Christmas, but I do not feel alone. I feel the love of God through the brothers of the church, who never forget us," Jenny says with a big smile on her face. "I am happy because, at Christmas, we will eat delicious food," says four-year-old Mayte happily. 
 

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Mayte has a big grin on her face after receiving gifts and food.

Christmas is a time of peace and harmony. Even though poverty has increased in the country this year, people like Miguel continue to bring love and joy to people living in poverty. Neither rain nor cold can stop the joy and peace in the Saraguro community this Christmas. 

If you would like to give a Christmas gift to your sponsored child call 0800 800 777.

 


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