THE PATH IS MADE AS YOU WALK
We all have experienced the passage of the pandemic in our lives, communities and mission throughout the year.
In Kirigueti (Peruvian jungle) we have had time at the beginning of the year to make a good planning of the pastoral work for the two parishes and to visit native communities of lower Urubamba. When we tried to carry out what we had planned and make our first trips, confinement was established, and the measures ordered by the government to prevent contagion. Native people also took their precautions by denying the entrance and exit of their communities under no excuse.
It was necessary to take action against COVID-19 since its arrival was soon to happen and the life of many people were in danger. We first contemplated the reality: health centers without enough medicine, oxygen and other preventive materials; a vulnerable population without nearby hospitals where most serious cases could be sent.
Without waiting or asking for it, we received donations from different institutions and supportive people, which made possible the purchase of medicine used by the Health Minister to fight the virus, providing a good amount of them to the Health Centers, including medicines and preventing material for the health personnel. In addition, we also provided them with oxygen concentrators.
With the desire to avoid contagion among settlers who participate in the two parishes and their 20 native communities, we prepared basic preventive materials for delivering them to each family, which included masks, liquid soap and a water container of 20 liters for washing hands. The delivery of these materials was accompanied by prevention talks in the seven neighborhoods of Kirigueti.
When COVID-19 began to reach the nearby places the Health Center started to apply fast tests, which resulted in finding the first cases in Kirigueti, which were increasing at the same time as we were testing people. The alarms went off and we got back in action. Since we did not have a hospital, we had to accommodate classrooms from the school to received sick and infected people. Miraculously or by nature reasons, infected people were asymptomatic, and they only remained in quarantine.
Another task that involved much effort and dedication was to keep communication and the teaching and learning process virtually -and in some cases face-to-face- with 60 students that year after year are accepted in the residency of the mission for studying their secondary school, because in their communities they only have primary schools. Additionally, we also sent the food that the government provide to the students to their communities.
Currently, we can say that life has been normalized, though we still don’t have face-to-face classes and still is restricted the fluvial transport through which we can travel and supply ourselves with food.
Let’s thank God’s life for the well-being of people and because all the members of the mission are in good health condition. Let us continue to pray for a soon cease of COVID-19 pandemic in the world and that we can all work together to eradicate the pandemic of hunger, violence and injustice as well as all those who prevent millions of people from enjoying a more human and happy life.
Lola Priede Miranda.