It has been a difficult couple of years for everyone, but not least for those in care homes. For elderly care home residents around the world it has been a tough time of separation from loved ones, and that has been felt no less by those in the care homes we work with.
The care home of 22nd street has been somewhere we have visited for many years, as care homes here are quite different from those in the West. In Latin American culture it is generally expected that elderly members of the family will be cared for by their relatives as a way of honoring one's parents. In Guatemala I am not aware of any government care facilities that retirees may move to when unable to care for themselves and there is not a social care safety net like more developed nations tend to have.
Instead, the care homes here are charitable organizations usually run by churches, and their residents are typically those who have nothing and have no one to look after them. This may be because they never had children, or it may be that they have been abandoned by their family. This means that the regular visits we usually do are even more important, because these are mostly individuals who have no one (beside the care home staff) who regularly checks in on them.
So it has been with sadness that we have not been permitted to enter the care home on a regular basis since the country had its initial lock-down in early-2020. We have, however, continued to deliver the regular refreshments to them every week, waving from the door at those that we can see, and asking the manager how everyone is. We are grateful for a couple of instances when we have been able to enter in a limited manner - to deliver Christmas presents, and when Kathy has visited.
But now we are hopeful, because the residents are due for their second vaccine dose, after which we have been told the care home will hopefully become available for visits by those who have received three vaccines shots. We are prayerfully waiting for the impending visit by the Ministry of Health workers to come and administer these second doses, and hope that once the residents have recovered from any possible symptoms we may be able to enter and have full devotional times with them again.
Please join us in praying that this becomes a reality, and that for both the care home on 22nd street, and the newer care home that we have more recently connected with, we will be able to enter and run encouraging devotional times for them.