The question “where do we start” can overwhelm us. We believe the answer to this question is simply, “Start where you have relationships” and Anapra is where our friends are…
When we consider the needs of so many that lie both in our own backyard and on the other side of the world (and everywhere in between) it can overwhelm us, where do we start? We believe the answer to this question is simply, “Start where you have relationships” and in the case of Pan de Libros, Anapra is where our friends are. Our journey started as missionaries visiting a community over ten years ago, and has led us to deep friendships that are no longer one-sided give-and-take but a mutual compassion for one another. We have held each other’s babies, attended each other’s weddings, celebrated life’s successes and cried through life’s struggles… together.
Sadly our neighbors to the south must suffer through many struggles. Life in Anapra is difficult, with the average salary at $50 per week and many out of work, children are often hungry and unable to attend school (which has high enrollment and uniform fees). In the recent years the drug wars of Mexico culminated in Juarez where, in 2009, more civilian casualties were recorded (2,660) than in Baghdad (1,545) or the entire country of Afghanistan (2,412). Previous to the drug wars the area has suffered through nearly twenty years of a Femicide during which over 1,000 women and girls have been brutally raped and murdered on their way to school and work.
Most recently, as the drug wars begin to (hopefully) move out of Juarez, the remnants of war remain. With many stores closed to escape extortion by the drug gangs, food prices have sky rocketed. The peso is currently weak against the dollar. American factories have closed, making work difficult to find. And the children, who have witnessed nightly news updates on beheadings and gruesome attacks, as well as witnessing blood stains outside their own school when murderers found their way into Anapra, are left to a new day of unknowns about their future.
And so we hope for Anapra.