By Heidi Isaza
I love camping, lying on the ground and looking up at the stars. But I am an REI girl. I like camping because I have a four-season tent, a sleeping pad, a thermal sleeping bag, and the hope to return home after a couple of days, take a hot shower, and sleep in my comfortable bed and warm house.
Thousands of families have been camping in Chile since an enormous earthquake rocked the country on Feb. 27, completely destroying thousands of homes and leaving several thousand more homes structurally unsound and unusable.
Today, I met a woman named Ana Maria. She and her two sons, Luis, 6, and Manuel, 4, had been sleeping outside since the earthquake—camping without a tent, sleeping bags, or any hope to return to their home, as it was severely damaged and in danger of falling down the hill. Manuel is epileptic and was beginning to develop an infection from sleeping outside and waking up damp from the morning dew.
Now, however, they received a bit of relief, in the form of a tent distributed by World Vision. While they still can’t sleep in their home, at least they have shelter and a safe and dry place to be. “We have somewhere to sleep now,” Ana Maria told me with a smile. “This is a blessing from God and a surprise for the kids.”
World Vision distributed the first of 300 tents to families of sponsored children in Lota and will distribute another 300 tents today to those who lost everything to the earthquake and tsunami in Dichato.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I would enjoy camping for six months or more, especially with winter is on its way. I’m thankful that now Ana Maria and her sons at least have a safe and dry space where they can begin the process of starting over.