2018 year in review

2018 has been another banner year for Global Care Alliance.  This update will be the last of the year and will serve as a summary of all we have accomplished in 2018.  It is also the final opportunity I will have to thank those of you who have made it possible for us to provide relief to the vulnerable people we serve in Mexico and Burundi.  Finally, it is my opportunity to announce our goals and objectives for 2019.

2018 Christmas Party

This year’s Christmas party for the children of Vicente Guerrero was held at our Community Center in town on Sunday, December 9th.  Thirty-eight people made the 6+ hour trek south from San Diego to serve the children.  I knew this was going to be a big year for the annual party, but I did not expect it to be as large as it turned out to be.  In fact, it ended up dwarfing all our previous Christmas parties! In past years, we have given out 400-600 toys and fed 700-900 children and their families.  This year, we gave out a whopping 837 toys and fed 1,070 meals!  It was incredible.  Our compound, which holds our community center and our new medical clinic, was filled to overflowing.  For many of the children we served, the toy they received from us will be the only one they receive this Christmas. Thank you to everyone who made this possible!

As we have for the past 5 years, on our way home on Monday, December 10th, we stopped at an extremely poor and dilapidated migrant camp in Colonet, not far from our Community Center and Medical Clinic.  Every year, Barbara Sharif, my loving and dedicated wife, takes upon herself the task of assembling and preparing care packages for delivery to the residents of this migrant camp.  The care packages contain food and grocery items, personal care products and toiletries, blankets, hats, gloves, and socks.  She also makes sure to set aside enough toys for the children who live in the camp.  This year we gave 40 care bags to the families in the camp and approximately 50 toys to the camp’s kids.  The people who live in the camp are incredibly thankful for the small bit of Christmas cheer we bring them each year.

I am thankful to God that all the people who joined me for this year’s Christmas trip made it down to Vicente Guerrero and back home safe and sound with no major incidents, and especially that we had such an awesome opportunity to serve in Jesus’s name.

As I started out saying, we have had an amazing year.  The success of the Christmas party is just the tip of the iceberg.  Here is a sampling of our other accomplishments:

  • We completed and opened Clinica de Vida on August 1st in partnership with Xochicalco University’s medical school.  In the few short months since then, Clinica de Vida has become the leading clinic for the local residents needing primary medical care.  We charge 50 pesos for an examination to those who can pay, but we have recently surpassed in popularity the nearby free clinics.  Leaders of local communities have seen what we have done with Clinica de Vida and some are asking that we build similar clinics in their towns.
  • We completed and opened our water system in Gahararo, Burundi.  The system is a solar powered water system that pumps water to the center of the village from the water source at the bottom of an extremely steep mountain.  The distance covered from the source to the village is approximately two miles.  There are seven taps from which the villagers can take water.  The system also has a filtration system to ensure that the water the villagers are getting is clean.
  • We successfully implemented a goat ownership program in the Burundian town of Bukeye.  Under this program, 20 families were chosen to receive a goat that we purchased.  The precondition for receiving a goat was that the first baby goat born of a goat we supplied would be returned to us for giving to a family that did not receive a goat in the first instance.  After a somewhat rough start, the program is now working as intended as more and more families in the town receive a goat.
  • We began the process of negotiating the purchase of land in Gahararo on which we hope to build a church.
  • We continued to succeed in our community center in Mexico and our feeding program in Gahararo.

We could not have done these amazing things without our faithful prayer partners and generous monetary donors.  Thank you all for making our projects so incredibly successful.  We are thriving and growing, but we will only be able to continue doing so if you continue to support us in prayer and with your monetary donations.  I believe GCA is going to keep growing and thriving in 2019 and beyond.

What’s on tap for 2019?  One thing I have on my mind is potentially adding a domestic component to what we do.  I have some ideas of how to do this without tapping into our current donor base.  Please pray that God would show me clearly how to proceed in this regard.

As many of you know, I have Iraqi and Lebanese blood on my father’s side.  My father was born in Iraq to an Iraqi father and a Lebanese mother.  Recently, one of my relatives asked me to go to Lebanon and determine if it would be possible for GCA to do a project for the Syrian refugees living in Lebanon.  I told her I would go and check it out.  I leave for Beirut on January 7th.  It is understood that if I determine GCA can play a role in Lebanon, my relative will have to be the point person for developing a new donor base specifically for that project.

Perfecting the water system in Burundi is also high on the agenda for 2019.  There are two things that need to be addressed in this regard.  First, the solar powered pump is not strong enough to operate the system at full capacity on rainy or cloudy days.  This must be fixed, either by installing a generator or otherwise improving the system.  I will be heading to Burundi after Beirut to try to deal with this situation.

We want to build a church in Gahararo.  The people are clamoring for it.  In the five years, we have been working there, dozens of the Batwa families have come to Christ.  Right now, these Christians must walk 15 kilometers (9 miles) each way if they want to attend church.  Many make the trek, but many others can’t.  They need a church of their own so that they can worship in a place near their homes.  Of course, correcting issues with the water system is first on my list, but building the church is next on the list for Burundi.

Our focus for 2019 will be continuing to expand the “business” of Clinica de Vida and the community center in Vicente Guerrero.  I will be highly focused on this.  Although things are going great with both projects, there is always room for improvement, and managing them is virtually a full-time job.  I will be continuing to focus not only on management, but also on raising funds for operations.

Which brings me to my final point.  It is not too late to make a tax-deductible donation to Global Care Alliance for 2018.  To do so, you can either send a check to 5638 Lake Murray Blvd., No. 153, La Mesa, CA 91942, or make an online donation through our website — www.globalcarealliance.org.

Thank you again for all that you have done for the marginalized people of Mexico and Burundi.  In 2018, we made a big difference to the people we serve and, God willing, we will continue to do so in 2019.

Blessings,
Niles Sharif
President, GLOBAL CARE ALLIANCE

“A Collective Commitment to Care”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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