Much more than a card and a photo
Since the Calle Esperanza ( Street of Hope) program of ARCORES Costa Rica opened, volunteers from the Augustinian-Recollect International Solidarity Network in the Central American country were meeting Monday to Monday, the day of action of the program, with Ronald.
Calle Esperanza is especially focused on the homeless, the people who suffer the most consequences of social exclusion because they do not have a stable home. As point of encounter to meet Ronald, the volunteers of the project have a classroom of the complex of the Parish of the Immaculate Conception of Pozos de Santa Ana, in the province of San Jose.
Once they enter the service dynamics, the beneficiaries receive a space every Monday own that goes far beyond concrete material help. The person is listened to try to find out the reasons why he/she has come to this street situation, they try to remedy as much as possible so that the person's luck can change.
In the case of Ronald, a situation of total abandonment was verified because he did not exist officially: he had no documentation. It is not a trivial matter: without an identity card, there is no access to any Administration, to any public aid or program to fight against social exclusion, there are no records, there is no way to be attended.
Volunteers from the program went to work to solve the problem. Until, once the necessary documentation was obtained and prepared, the day arrived. It had been 15 years since Ronald didn’t go to the capital of the country. A volunteer accompanied him on the bus.
They arrived at the offices of the National Registry and managed to deliver the document. They celebrated with a small lunch and a walk through the Central Park. There, according to the words of the volunteer, Patricia, Ronald was so happy and excited that he “talked and talked, he even talked to the pigeons!"
Ronald is already a recognized citizen, the first step for a dignified life; beyond one statistics, new doors are opened to reintegrate into society with access to aid public, job training, social reintegration. And, over time, with an income that allowed to leave his little place under the bridge of the area of Santa Ana, where he spends the night.
In recent times, the Calle Esperanza program has encountered another type of beneficiary, who comes from the dark world of forced migrations. Is about foreign transients (also outside state control) crossing Costa Rica from south to North on the way to the United States. They come mostly from South America and the Caribbean.
With them, the program is located in the surroundings of the bus stations of the capital from the country. Many are given bus tickets to the northern border. To those who are going to spend the night in the street they are given hot food. ARCORES Costa Rica is distributing from 200 to 300 daily rations, depending on the days.
A new typology also appears: those who have lost all hope of reaching their destination, the United States, due to the border closures and the persecutions they suffer during all the way. However, even if they regret going north, neither they can return to their country: it is not an option due to the lack of decent livelihoods, due to the lack of peace or for so many reasons.
In these cases, ARCORES Costa Rica strives to help them find work and even a living place. The generosity of donors and volunteers is immense, although the needs they are always older. Last Christmas, for example, a local company wanted to donate gifts for all of them, which the volunteers delivered as they all sang Christmas carols together.
The latest big news is that the adult care program will soon be reactivated to adults, called “Teachers of Hope”. It had been canceled due to the pandemic and has arrived the moment of power, again, carry it forward.