It’s currently 4pm (well it was when I started writing), and the residents at Quinta Totaices are taking a refreshment break from their afternoon work session – probably a piece of homemade cake made by our cook with some very sweet tea to wash it down (there isn’t the culture here of asking how many sugars you have – it’s generally assumed you take a lot of sugar in your drink!). Their daily routine started at 6.30am, the same as every other day apart from Sundays, and today has been a work focused day. Work is an important part of the Novō programme, not only therapeutically for the residents, but also in generating income for the project.
The programme has a structured timetable for each day of the week, and Wednesday morning consisted of a time of worship (for staff and residents), followed by a recovery group. I felt privileged to attend the group, in which one of the residents shared his life story, which is one of the programme objectives. It was humbling to be reminded of the background many of the men come from. A story of repeated rejection – hospitalised due to undernourishment as a young child, abandoned by his alcoholic father, and at the age of 9, kicked out onto the streets with his Mother telling him “you’ll turn out just like your father”. He had to fend for himself. Alcohol, glue and marijuana provided what he needed to survive life on the streets.
The sense of community continues to grow at Quinta Totaices, and there is a strong sense that we’re transitioning from set-up phase to a maintenance and development phase. As part of this, we’ve begun regular training sessions with the whole staff team, covering all sorts of themes from drug testing to managing conflict and first aid to relapse prevention tools. I led the most recent workshop for the team, introducing the broad theme of roots of addiction and our treatment philosophy and principles. It is fantastic that everyone seems keen to learn and engage with these times.
A further recent transition has been our local Project Coordinator. We’re grateful for José Ernesto’s hard work in setting up the project, and are equally grateful for God’s provision of David Salazar, José’s replacement, who is doing a grand job so far! He brings great leadership qualities with a real heart for team building and serving where God wants him to be. In his second week with us, David organised a BBQ for all residents, staff and families – hopefully the first of many such events!
It is exciting to report that Ulises, a resident I mentioned in an earlier blog, is our first resident to be very nearly completing his time on the main programme. A huge milestone! Novō will continue to heavily support him after he’s officially completed his programme, and the plan is that he will continue to live at the Quinta, while having more independence as well as responsibility to help out in some kind of volunteer capacity. One of our staff members has found him a work placement, where he will receive training and eventually a salary. Ulises has been feeling a little overwhelmed with the options suddenly open to him for his future, now that his life no longer revolves around and depends on drinking alcohol. Please join us in praying for this crucial next step for him – that he’ll remain focused on his recovery, enjoy his new-found fullness of life, and continue to walk and grow in his relationship with God.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. John 10:10
I have more of a personal update I’d like to communicate with you soon, including looking towards next year. But I’ll save that for another blog post in the near future.
PRAISE AND PRAYER
- Praise God for an increasingly established community and programme at Quinta Totaices, where men are finding a place to call home.
- Pray for Ulises and his future, and that he’d be a great role model for other residents on the programme.
- Pray for David Salazar (new Project Coordinator) and that he’d continue to be enthusiastic and open to God guiding him in his new role.
Thank you so much for being part of this journey with me – I couldn’t be here without you, your financial support, friendship and prayers.