It’s December in South Florida. That means blue skies, slightly cooler temperatures, and an influx of tourists escaping the bitter cold up north. That also means more traffic. This morning on my way to work at Cross Catholic, I found myself growing increasingly frustrated at the busy roadways. But then I remembered a story of two brothers in rural Guyana—and I was reminded that a little traffic is nothing compared to the daily difficulties facing the poor we serve around the world.
Gerard and Fabian Campbell, 5 and 6, are a part of the indigenous Arawak community. And their morning commute to school begins much earlier than mine. They live in a rural village in a marshy isolated region of Guyana, accessible only by boat or plane. Their home is one of many one-room shacks sparsely scattered along a snaking river. In order to go to school, they walk a total of four miles—barefoot, because they don’t have any shoes. When they’re not walking, they’re crossing rivers—paddling in an old dugout canoe.
But thanks to Cross Catholic’s support of the Santa Rosa Catholic Church feeding program, the long journey is worth it. We help the parish priest provide daily nutritious lunches to about 100 impoverished students. The Campbell brothers, like many of their classmates, arrive at school with empty stomachs because their father is too poor to feed them and their other six siblings. As a result, their diet at home consists entirely of starchy cassava. Without protein or essential vitamins, the brothers are lethargic and unable to focus on their studies.
But thanks to the feeding program, the boys are guaranteed a well-balanced, midday meal every day. Now, not only are they excelling in the classroom, but they are acquiring the strength and skills necessary to help them pursue a better life.
So the next time I become restless because I’m stuck in traffic, instead of growing frustrated, I’ll remember the difficulties facing poor students like Gerard and Fabian. Will you please join me and remember them in your thoughts and prayers as well?