Today, we received more stirring images from Michael J. La Civita. He and Thomas Varghese, CNEWA’s director of programs, are on a pastoral visit to the Caucasus.
Michael described what he saw:
There is poverty, and then there is grinding poverty.
For many reasons, but I will start with corruption and tragedy, almost half of Armenia’s people have endured decades of want: want of shelter, heat, food, water and health.
What they have in abundance is dignity.
My friend and colleague, Thomas, today visited people who this past winter needed help to heat their homes and needed, as well, food to eat.
Unemployment in the Gyumri region is more than 70 percent. Many of the people we visited today live in “temporary” housing since their homes and their lives were destroyed in the great earthquake in 1988.
Yes I said temporary. Sheds made of corrugated tin — some with electricity, others not. Bathrooms are holes in the ground.
Thanks to Caritas Armenia, families are receiving help, and I am pleased CNEWA is there in support. But I am frustrated that what we do is but a drop in the bucket.
The tears here, and the desolation, are heartbreaking.
Read more about the work of CNEWA and Caritas Armenia, in A Letter from Armenia in the Summer 2015 edition of ONE.