It took us three attempts to get into this city.
The first try, our trucks were stopped by a road block that a gang of teenagers had constructed out of logs and tires that they had pulled across the road. There were riots throughout the city protesting the high gas prices that day. We didn't realize how dangerous it was until we got back to the U.S. and googled the images that showed vans being tipped over and set on fire.
The second attempt was close. We picked up a gang leader (who is needed for entering the city) who jumped in the van to escort us into Cite Soliel. As we drove into the first sessions of the slum, a friend of the gang leader ran up to us waving his arms to get away. We learned later than there was a gang war going on and that there was gun fire.
The third attempt we made it! I was very touched and saddened to walk through this slum. The area is regarded as one of the poorest and most dangerous areas of the Western Hemisphere. Estimated population is between 200,000 to 400,000. No sewer system and very limited electricity. Rat infested and dirty. Largely ruled by gangs, each controlling thier own sectors. Most live on less than 50¢ a day.
We were blessed to go in and minister to a group of children led by a young man by the name of Luken Ermilus, a medical student who has a heart for these people. We had an amazing dental team there. Our friend Dr. Dan Neubauer taught a class on how to stay healthy and did some chiropractic adjustments. We brought in clothing for close to 100 children. Some of whom came in naked to get clothes. We taught them some English, sang songs, played games and shared our faith with them. It was an amazing day. We even had a group of UN soldiers escort us out of the building as it was getting dark. Thank you Don Shire Ministries for organizing such an impactful day!
Co-Founder of Java Relief