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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It is better to give than to receive - the poor of Cochabamba, Bolivia

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When we arrived in Cochabamba, we were instantly struck by the number of beggars in the streets.
At first in the nicer areas they were in front of the churches, but soon we noticed they were every few metres in the main streets.
Here a little girl dances for money.  
There is not an adult in sight.

Now, a big focus of our trip is "Random Acts of Kindness".
We want to help those who struggle in life.
This comes in all forms.
Sometimes we find it is better to give things than money.
Clothes, toiletries, food and drinks are what we contribute to the needy.
Other times it is coins.

So here is a part of our journey over the past two days.
This beggar has one hand.
He has bound a splinter of wood to his stump, so he can play and earn a few coins.

First time we gave him money, but the next day we came back with potato chips, bread, and some soup for him.

The next guys we met were most likely glue sniffers.
Next to them was a pile of bedding and possessions.
So we gave them soup.
They were vests where they are supposed to lead people to a hotel.

Then as we walked the streets passing out food, we met this lady.
We gave her some money and she gave us the biggest rotten teeth smile.
She welcomed us to take her photograph which surprised me.

The more we walk, the more we see beggars.
We were able to give something to this lady too.

Now this family really upset us.
The baby and the mother had large facial bruises.
My son spotted it first.  She hid her head.
I would guess domestic violence.
It is difficult to give to some of these people, as often the abusive husband can be watching, and he will take the money for alcohol and drugs.
It is better to give food and clothing.

This old man was so lovely.
He was so happy.
He was nearly blind.
He wanted to touch us and hold our hands when we gave him money.

You can see his begging cup in front of him.

Again, another happy soul when we helped her.
She is crippled.
My son was shocked at the lack of teeth of many of the beggars.
I explained to him they have no money for toothbrushes or toothpaste.
This really shocked him.

This lady has a nasty gash on her head.  She sells fruit.
We also gave her and another lady our old clothes and bag.
They can re-sell for a few Bolivianos.
We try to give all we do not need.

As you can see by this picture, the beggars are every couple of metres in this area.

I think our hearts have really changed to the needs of those that have so little.
Life is not just about us.
Life is about everyone in this world.
We are privileged to be born into a better society than them.

We had a really tiring, but amazing day.
To be able to help a few people has been great.
We do all our giving from our own funds.
If anyone ever gives us money to help the poor, we use all of it for that purpose.
It does not fund our trip.

If any of you would like us to help the poor and needy as we travel, please feel free to contact us.
You can donate via Paypal and leave a comment as to how you want the funds used too.

Giving to the needy will continue to be a big part of journey.
We don't share this to boast of what we do as it is better to give in secret.
But we do share it on our blog with you, because we want others to see the needs of the world.

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