By: Kenneth Raices Rivera and Jonathan Pacheco Figueroa
The humble “Pueblo” of Camuy at noon as regular, slow and deserted. This has been the atmosphere here for 10 years which has caused a lot of need and poorness in between its residents who are mostly the elderly. An elderly woman who lives there said, “We have been abandoned, forgotten who is going to helps us now”.
On November 22nd this young group of teens from Emmanuel’s church at Camuy, Puerto Rico got together to make a difference in this city. Over the past week this group has dedicated their time to help people in need around their church. Their shirt reads “ Se busca gente diferente para hacer la diferencia” this is their mission.
Kenneth Raices, 19, helping make and pack the food in the church’s kitchen that Saturday morning. After hearing what the group had planned and what their mission was we decided to join on the work and help make a difference. We wanted to have the experience of helping a community in need.
Inside every package of food a message was inserted to lighten up another human. One hundred of this were made and each and every one of them had a message. While doing this thoughts raised and one of them was when was the last time something like this was done.
Joel “Tito” Robles, 15, carrying bottles of water is one of the youngest of the group. While walking down the streets he commented to us he felt good making a change remembering one of his friends who told him “you are going to look ridiculous walking around doing that”. “Tito” is the most outgoing person in the group but also the most humble one too.
While “Tito” was walking down the streets with water people started looking at him like they needed a drink. Mostly the elderly looked desperate since the last 10 years all of the market around them disappeared because of the economy. Some people did laugh from a car while all of this was done.
Anabel Barreto, 44, Wife of the church Pastor leads the way down the streets. Almost 15 years ago this place was full of stores and people socializing, while know as its seen no one goes around this town unless they live here. The group started singing to see if people got out their houses at this point since the elderly stayed upstairs because it was a rainy day.
This man in front of his house, with his food and beverage that we gave him. He actually put his shirt on and kept going with us to give to the other homeless or poor people across all “el pueblo” in Camuy. “This place needed the help from youngster’s like you guys, you motivated me to motivate and help others”.
Astrid, 22, gives this man something to eat and some water. This man told the group how much he needed this and that for him it was like his thanksgiving dinner, he gave thanks to God in a laud shout and kept walking forward. We found this man later in our walk living in his “house”, it resulted to be a cardboard box in a corner.
Andrea, 14, gives this other elderly man some food at calle San Juan 210. This man asked for more food because his wife was unhealthy and had not eaten all day, Andrea came back crying because she saw this man’s sadness in his eyes. “ I feel sorry for what all of this people are going through, I thought stuff like this was over years ago”
Neysha, 21, had a long talk with this man after giving him the food. This man has lived his hole life here and has seen everything from the good old days back in the past and todays horrible future. “ Life here back then was not like this, back then you used to see people and little kids playing in the streets, but not know in this times you only hear a cry for help”.
This elderly woman did not want here face in the picture so instead we took a still of when the water was given to her. She has been 30 years living here and the only reason she leaves and goes out of that fence is because of necessities if not she does not find the motivation or reason to do so since the city is a desert. “The town died, I died with it”.
Johanna, 20, expresses her laughter and joy after giving these people help and hope. Her hole life she has lived near this place and she never thought this was happening, making a difference sure makes her happy. “ A lot of people this days just don’t understand life is not about money or material things is about what you do and how you feel doing it”.
Part of the group of teens that took a step closer to making a difference that Saturday morning in Camuy. Even though it did rain they kept on giving these people help and letting them know that even if it’s a small group that still know they are there they have someone. “Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change”.
The group sings for a while after they finish giving all of the food expressing their joy of helping those in need. People did come out and sang songs with the group in appreciation for what they had just done in that place. A woman said “ You guys brought a little light to this place again”.