Guatemala – New houses and something to eat: the Salesian gift for San Benito poor

29 October 2020

(ANS - San Benito) - The Salesian mission of San Benito, in the Department of Petén, in Guatemala, is always on the move, even in times of pandemic. The social action coordinated by the missionaries involved both the donation of houses and of food to the most needy.

Thanks to the NGO "FUNDEPAZ" and the collaboration of Fr Fernando Echeverri, the Salesians were able to deliver new houses this year to poor families who lived in truly extreme conditions. In total, 20 brand new homes were built and donated to the needy.

“There is one thing that I noticed and that especially struck me,” says the Italian Salesian missionary Fr Giampiero De Nardi, “to see men cry when the house was handed over to them. In a male chauvinist society like the Guatemalan one, where men are forbidden to cry, because it is a sign of weakness, to see a man cry is something truly powerful.”

And certainly the change of moving from houses made of sheet metal, plastic, and wood to a real house is an immense gift.

“The second thing that struck me,” continues the missionary, “was seeing some families who were given the house planting flowers in front. They didn't do so for the previous house, but the new house is a precious gift and should be embellished with flowers. It's an interesting sign that their life has changed.”

Another parish project carried out in these times of pandemic was the donation of food bags, thanks to donations from "Misiones Salesianas", the Salesian Mission Office in Madrid, and the NGO "Canadian Food for Children".

In this way, humanitarian aid has been offered for four months to over 100 poor families in the parish territory, especially the elderly and widows, who are very often abandoned to their fate by their children.

The country has been in lockdown for about seven months now, and basic necessities are becoming more and more expensive. For this reason, the parish group that previously went to distribute food at the hospital is now helping to prepare the food bags.


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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