These were some of my thoughts on our last night in Santiago before traveling to Majagual that I wrote in my journal:
Pedro and co. are so amazing because they are creating their own choices and choices for their kids.
They might never actually have money to spare. But they might someday reach a place of less worry, or even of security. Then maybe their kids will have even more power and choice in their futures.
In history we can see that people–individuals–can become successful from an early life od very little means, but this is somewhat the exception. Individuals can fight a system, form relationships, and break out of a bad cycle of poerty, for example. But can whole communities do this? Not generally.
This is why Cien Fuegos is so phenomenal. The people of Cien Fuegos are working as a united force towards change. Roberto or Luis aren’t trying to help themselves and get out of Cien Fuegos, they are spending their lifetimes to better the lives of others. Only as a community can change happen to benefit the whole community.
Pedro is re-inventing the wheel in terms of how to escape or lessen poverty. It is not about gambling on luck, or praying for intervention, or coercing or killing the way out of Cien Fuegos. Pedro showed us that fixing his community is about, every step of the way, doing what is best for the community. It is about breaking everyone’s challenges into digestible pieces and assigning a group of leaders to each problem–he calls this a Neighborhood Watch Group.
Poverty is constant and stuck. It is ingrained in this culture and it dependent on the institutions that maintain it. But Cien Fuegos has shown that a community of like minded people can together acknowledge an injustice they all experience and make tangible progress towards ending it.