GringoPost | Ecuador: Real Stories from the Hogar: Facing Fears

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Real Stories from the Hogar: Facing Fears

One thing we love about what we do here at the foundation is the opportunity to help people face their fears. Many people in dire need come to us – hopeless, discouraged, traumatized, or worse. We found 19-year-old Luis sleeping in front of the cathedral at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. He was in bad shape, both physically and mentally, and had nowhere else to go. As we were full, we sent him to the municipal shelter with several other young men, but when Cuenca’s status turned to yellow and the shelter closed, he came to stay with us at the foundation. This is when we came to understand his sad story.

Luis never knew his family because as a young boy he was given away to someone who ended up terrorizing and abusing him. The records that would be able to show any of his family have been wiped clean, so there is likely not any way of knowing if any of them are still alive. He feels tremendous fear and discomfort when attempting to socialize with others. One of his greatest fears is heights, where he cannot even stand close to a balcony, much less sit on one.

We have talked about his fears, and I have been encouraging him to face some of them, one by one, starting with something small. I noticed he was starting to interact with the others a little bit, with a quiet greeting and a small smile here and there. Then, the most incredible thing happened. Several of our residents have been painting during the lockdown, so we have a scaffolding set up. They had invited him to join them in the work many times, but he always shook his head, terrified. But yesterday, he slowly walked over to the scaffolding, and took one, then two steps up. He looked down at me, grinning. I smiled back, proud of him for starting on the path toward facing his fears, slowly, slowly, one by one.

If you would like to support our efforts in helping those in greatest need who need medical care, food support or encouragement to rebuild their lives, you can donate online at: If you prefer to make a donation through bank transfer, please contact us for the account information. We are also happy to schedule pick-ups of cash donations and in-kind donations of items. Thank you so much – we could not do any of this without you.

Garry Vatcher: 099 094 7611. Call after: 6 AM.

City: Cuenca