Last week I spent half an hour talking to her on one of our mission team's bus rides to an orphanage on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Jesy only speaks a little English. I only speak a little Spanish. So, we had to hunt and peck for topics that we could clearly communicate with one another.
We learned each other's names. We chatted about our age and hometowns. We even managed to talk about our faith a little. It wasn't until the end of our trip though that Jesy said to me in broken English, "I used to be an orphan."
I don't know what I was expecting, but Jesy did not look like an orphan to me. It was hard to believe that (just a few short years ago) this bright, beautiful girl once lived behind the concrete walls and steel gate of an orphanage. But, as someone from the mission trip put it, the walls were not to keep bad people in...but to keep bad people out.
For most kids around the world, there is no transition between orphan and adult. Twenty-four hours is all that separates one side of the wall from the other. An 18th birthday at an orphanage isn't as much a celebration as a send-off. But, thanks to Buckner International, that wasn't true for Jesy.
Jesy is part of Buckner's transitional home in Peru along with half a dozen other young women. After leaving their respective orphanages, these girls get the opportunity to live, work, and study together - under the supervision of a mentor and live-in "house mother." Our team was invited to their home for a pizza party during the trip, and it was truly a remarkable place.
The problem (as it usually is with these types of things) is money. The Buckner team in Peru desperately wants to start more of these homes, but doesn't have the budget to do so. What they do have, however, is an amazing group of girls who are working hard to invest in their own futures.
Peru is known for silver, and Jesy and her housemates have the dream of one day starting their own jewelry-making business with it. Claudia Leon (the director of Buckner in Peru) has already made up a budget and business plan for the idea, and now she just needs $15,000 to get started. The money they earn from selling the jewelry would be used to financially help Jesy and the other girls, as well as fund more transitional homes in the future. Plus, the experience would teach valuable skills that will benefit these girls for years to come.
I am committed to raising this money, but I need your help. Right now we're at about $3,000, and I would love to send them a check very soon. Are you able to get involved? Any amount is helpful. If so, you can make a check out to: Buckner International. However, please put "Peru-Jewelry Project" in the memo line. Then mail it to:
PO Box 352
Mahomet, IL 61853
I'll be collecting the checks and then sending them in bulk to Buckner.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. And, from Jesy, "Gracias."