Eugene Cho

“vacationing” in a place with the 4th highest murder rate in the world

Hey everyone. Thanks for your love, support, and prayers.

Minhee and I (and one of my ODW volunteer staff) are currently “vacationing” in an “urban ghetto” marked with the 4th highest murder rate in the world. We’ve taken some personal vacation time to travel to Guatemala as invited guests (for a few days) to do research, learn, and network with some NGOs for some possible future partnerships. We are spending the bulk of our time with an NGO called Lemonada International.

We’ve heard and partly witnessed some painful stories of violence, drug abuse, broken families, and the ugly cycle of extreme poverty.

There is an estimate of 60-100K people living in the urban ghetto known as La Limonada. It is an urban slum community built into a rhine that runs through Guatemala City…Many of the families live with no running water or electricity. The geographic location of the community and the sub-culture of extreme poverty have produced a lack of education and job opportunities, spiritual darkness, and unsustainable living conditions.

Having said this, we’ve witnessed some amazing stories of love, courage, and hope.  We are seeing what we’ve seen in so many places that give us hope in the fight against extreme global poverty:

Never underestimate the power of love – as it’s lived out in compassion, action, and justice.

Yes, while there are very visible expressions of poverty and brokenness, La Limonada is (as the Guatemalan founder, Tita, shared with us) a beautiful place because of the beautiful people – especially the kids. There’s no guarantee that ODW will partner with Lemonade International as we’ll need to do our due diligence but I have no reservations asking you to do me ONE BIG FAVOR and visit their website to learn more about their story.

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10 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    At your suggestion, I visited the website. There is a line on the site used to desciribe La Limonada that says: “Even Santa Claus doesn’t visit La Limonada.”

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by eugenecho: Why are we in a Guatemalan “urban ghetto” marked with the 4th highest murder rate in the world? http://bit.ly/9QwcCH

  3. danderson says:

    Eugene,
    Are you familiar with Agros? It’s an organization which works in the poorest rural areas of Mexico and Central America in agricultural and community development. They work at a grassroots level and are trying to find the root causes of poverty in the area. I think they have established close to 20 working sites in Guatemala.

    Also – just talked to the wife of a Honduran pastor friend who has gone down to Honduras on a medical mission. Even though he’s from the country, he’s amazed at the poverty and lack of basic health care in the area he went to. Near riots over medical supplies. But as the wife pointed out: poor economically but rich in spirit.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      yeah, i’m familiar with them. they’re based out of seattle and are doing some great things.

      my odw staffperson that’s on the trip with minhee and i was in guatemala three years ago to do some film shooting for a project with agros.

  4. Matt EHH says:

    Thanks for the info Eugene. Life changing stuff.

  5. […] said that, I was reading an article online on the airplane en route to Seattle from Guatemala (research trip for One Day’s Wages) about a 15 year old girl who ended up getting an abortion […]

  6. Steve says:

    I missed the last few days…and look to really pay for it.

    From the street here in Guatemala, I can assure you that Tita is the real deal, and worthy of support. Limonada is one of a number of ministries, where the wounded victims have become the nurturing healers….powerful…AND a rebuke to the powerful men in churches in Guatemala.

  7. Travis says:

    Speaking of Jesus… there’s a spirited conversation about to begin here about a controversial topic. Your opinions would be welcome there!
    http://www.reliefjournal.com/2010/03/29/does-it-matter-if-the-president-believes-in-jesus/

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At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

Lord, in your mercy... We are reminded again and again...that we are Resurrection People living in a Dark Friday world.

It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

Indeed, God is not yet done. May we take heart for Christ has overcome the world. "Without genuine relationships with the poor, we rob them of their dignity and they become mere projects. And God did not intend for anyone to become our projects." Grateful this quote from my book, Overrated, is resonating with so many folks - individuals and  NGOs. / design by @preemptivelove .
May we keep working 
on ourselves 
even as we seek 
to change the world. 
To be about the latter 
without the former 
is the great temptation 
of our times. Minhee and I are filled with gratitude as we reflect on the @onedayswages gala last night. So many friends and guests came to support our work...and of course, our scrappy staff, interns, and board. In 8 years, we've impacted 561,000 people around the world that are living in extreme poverty and vulnerable situations. This year, we are expecting to have our largest investment of grants at $1.3 million! Over the next couple weeks, I'm going to share some of those stories of impact.

But we need your help to keep growing this work. Because our pledge is for 100% of all donations to go directly to our partnerships, we're asking folks from around the world to consider becoming one of core supporters by simply pledging $25/month to support our operations. Go to give.onedayswages.org for more info.

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