Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Facts and Figures

I haven't yet gone into detail about where we are going, so here are some facts about Guatemala as a whole, as well as the neighborhood, Paradise, which will be our main focus.  I tend to understand things best with numbers, so here are some stats pertaining to Guatemala.

First, to make more sense of the area we will be going to, here's a little bit about how Guatemala City is broken down.   Guatemala City is the capital of Guatemala.  The city itself is broken down into districts or zones (zonas).  Engadi Ministries is currently focusing on one of the poorest and most crime ridden districts in the city, Zone 18.  Within Zone 18 our specific focus will be on a certain "barrio" or section called "Paradise."


- Guatemala is a small country just south of Mexico in Central America.
- It covers less area than the state of Georgia, and is closer in size to Tennessee or Virginia.
- The nation spans from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, and has about 22 volcanoes, some of which are still active.
- Guatemala has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the world.
- According to a study done by UNODC in 2012, Guatemala ranks 8th of all countries studied for the highest murder rate.  This is more than Mexico, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan combined.
- In 2009, New Yorker magazine reported more civilians were shot, stabbed, or beaten to death in Guatemala than were reported killed in the war zone of Iraq.
- New Yorker Magazine also reported that 97% of homicides remain unsolved in Guatemala.
- The average income for a Guatemalan household is $5,200 per year.  However, there is a vast disparity between the income and lifestyles of the upper class and lower class citizens in Guatemala.
- A Civil War ensued in Guatemala from 1959-1994 causing many people to flee from the violence within their villages to Guatemala City. 
2009 trip- Guard at paradise stadium
 Guatemala City

- The nation's capital, Guatemala City, is the largest city in the nation.
- Approximately 7.5 million people inhabit Guatemala City, which is approximately the area of Dekalb County, Georgia.
- According to the U.S. Department of State, in 2009, there were on average 25 murders per week reported to authorities in Guatemala City.
- Guatemala City is divided into twenty-two zones; Zones 3, 6, 18, and 21 are the most dangerous.


- The neighborhood of Paradise is located atop one of the landfills for Guatemala City.
2009 trip- House built upon trash in Paradise
 - People moving to Guatemala City from rural areas could not afford land, so they began building during the night on top of the city's trash dump.
- The average home is 10x10 feet.

2008 trip- Average home for a mother and 6 children in Paradise
- The average family in Paradise is one mother with 5-6 children.
- Usually, many, if not all, of the children within a family will have different biological fathers, and often none of them have any involvement with the family.
- Contagious diseases are uncontrolled due to lack of sanitation and close quarters.
- 40% of adolescent girls are single mothers.
- Families in paradise live off of what money the mother can make which is often around $2 a day.
- Most girls have their first child between the ages of 14 and 16. 
- Most boys have joined a gang by the age of 13, and are involved in drug dealing, extortion and gang rape.
- Gang members in Guatemala City kill an average of 6 people.
- Many houses lack running water and electricity.  Open fires made of burning trash are used to cook meals for families. 
2008 trip- Cooking supper over an open fire.
As you can see, Guatemala is flooded with crime, poverty, and destruction.  Let me clarify- we are not moving to Guatemala thinking we are going to change all of this.  Our hope is that we can focus on the lost boys in Guatemala City, and pour God's love into them in a way that changes their lives.  By raising up Mighty Men of God, these boys can then return to Paradise impacting both current and future families in Paradise.  These boys will then have the power to:
-lessen violent crimes
-lessen the occurrence of adolescent rape and pregnancy
-improve living conditions
-provide their own children with a father and their wife with a husband
-decrease the influence of gangs on children
-spread God's love to their neighbors and family
-use their education provided by the ministry to obtain steady jobs
-teach their children the value of a good education
-financially provide for their families   
-change their community.

"May God be gracious to us and bless us
     and make his face to shine upon us,
That your way may be known upon earth,
     your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
     let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
     for you judge the peoples with equity
     and guide the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
     let all the peoples praise you. 
The earth has yielded its increase;
     God, our God, has blessed us.
May God continue to bless us;
     let all the ends of the earth revere him"
Psalm 67

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