Peru – "My father, people die: oxygen is lacking, food is lacking ...". Salesians in landfills help the forgotten

17 June 2020

(ANS - Piura) - You see the worst face of poverty in those who live amid landfills. Many families live there, in the waste, or rather survive, collecting plastic and cardboard in the garbage. In these times of quarantine and Covid-19, they were the most forgotten, but not by the Salesians of Piura. In fact, Fr Angel Carbajal and Fr Pedro Da Silva went to them to take care of them.

Piura is a coastal city located in northern Peru. The Salesians have been working since 1906 in two large presences and in a large parish that encourages devotion to Mary Help of Christians.

During this pandemic period, schools have been closed, but the Salesians have continued to think about the poorest and made their choice to serve non-stop, even in a time of fear and uncertainty.

Piura is the second city, after the capital Lima, for the number of infected and victims of Covid-19. The fact is that, in addition to the forgetfulness of the State in almost all the provinces far from Lima, the same local culture has its rules of coexistence and putting them in quarantine was almost a lost battle. Hospitals in this city already collapsed a month ago, with fatal consequences and the lack of care for those who need it.

"My father, people die: oxygen is lacking, food is lacking ...". This is the phrase that the Salesians who visited and brought help to people living in landfills remember. Many people approach the doors of the "Don Bosco" Salesian School in Piura to ask for something to eat, to ask for help. The response of the Salesians was not long in coming. Led by Fr Carbajal, Director, and with Fr Da Silva, Pastoral Animator, they activated the emergency button and invited workers, parents, past pupils, friends and suppliers: "We must do something for the poor."

The aid operation began in the oratories with the families of the hundreds of children who endured, in addition to the city heat, the lockdown and quarantine. And there was a place where nobody went, out of fear, out of precaution, out of their refusal, but the Salesians did; they iwent to help the poorest and most forgotten there too, in the Castile landfill, on the outskirts of the city.

When Fr Carbajal was asked why he took this risk, why go there himself, why not send others, his answer touched their hearts: “I did the same thing that Don Bosco would have done. It is pastoral charity in all its splendor, it's the apostolic impulse that moves us to go towards those who need us. Thus replied the Saint of Youth, in 1869, to those who asked him: 'What is the spirit that must animate our body?' 'My beloved, it is charity!'"



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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