I have become quite desensitized to human conditions, nothing really surprises me anymore, but I believe there was an alternate reason for meeting the Mayta family in Bolivia on my latest assignment in South America. I know there are millions of people living in horrendous conditions all over the world (I've vividly photographed it), so where and how does one begin, stop and help those in need? I have decided that I want to try to help in some way because these stories are real and touch me deeply, being so close to them as a Photojournalist.
I just can't turn my back anymore. Neither should you.
Below is a letter that a bright young Bolivian boy wrote when I visited him and his family recently in the out-of-control city of El Alto, in the unforgiving Altiplano:
Hi, my name is Alvaro Mayta, I am 12 years old and I live in El Alto, Bolivia with my parents and my 8 brothers & sisters. My Father is a bricklayer, and my Mom takes care of all us in our tiny home, cooking, cleaning and washing all of our clothes by hand. We live at a very high altitude in the Altiplano (4100 msl), where the sun is very strong during the day and it is very cold at night, dropping below zero degrees Celsius. We don't have heat in our simple brick home, and we all sleep in the same room, on the dirt floor. There is really nowhere to change into my school uniform, so I change outside in the yard. I go to "Republic of Venezuela" school only a few hours a day in the afternoon, I learn science and speaking Aymara, our native tongue. Sometimes I get to play soccer after school with my little brother Fidel for a little while before the sun goes down. I help my parents with cleaning, washing clothing and with my younger siblings. We don't have a bathroom, or even a shower. My favourite things to do are playing soccer, practising my Pan Flute and Guitar and watching movies. Sometimes we get to go to the Cinema in the nearby city of La Paz to see movies on a big screen. We are a very big family so it is very difficult sometimes, there usually is not enough food for everyone. We have each other and we are together, and we don't need very much, though I wish that we had some milk and formula for my baby sister, and some new clothes and shoes for us kids. My dream is to go to University and study to be a Scientist.
If you would like to contribute something to this family, please contact me or send funds to me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org (paypal or interac email transfer) I am not a registered charity, but I will make it my mission that 100% of all donations will go to purchase things that the Mayta family needs, right here, right now, no red tape or bs.
Immediately needed is baby formula for their one-year old girl, and clothing. A little can go a long way in Bolivia. For example $5 can buy a pair of shoes, so with $75 we can buy new shoes for all the kids, which I can attest to they desperately need. $25 can buy formula for a month. $10 can buy diapers for a week, and so on. I'd like to raise $500, which would be a great help to the family.
If $200,000 can be raised in attempt to buy an alleged video showing a prominent Canadian Politician involved in illegal activities, can't we just raise a few hundred dollars that would go directly to people who actually would need and appreciate it?
I know there are many other families out there struggling, even in Canada, but we can start with just one, that's all it takes. And I know you'll agree with me that nothing is better than giving from your heart.
Please contact me for more information or how to get involved: email@example.com or skype: terry.sebastian