Today I visited Vida Nueva – which means new life.
It’s a men’s rehabilitation clinic for men afflicted with addiction. There were 12 men present, but the clinic can hold up to 26 total. Two men to a room. The range of sobriety was from just a few weeks to a year. The men can stay for 1.5 years. The last six months is to help them work outside and transition back into society in Piura.
It’s very primitive. Truly as basic as you can imagine. There’s a punching bag hanging from a tree, a very small selection of books on a shelf, and animals for teaching responsibility (rabbits, dogs, ducks, and a giant tortoise). They also have a sewing machine to sew and learn a skill.
Rehab places in the US look like vacation spots or spas compared to the primitive nature of San Miguel. One significant difference is Christ is present everywhere. There’s an altar, a giant crucifix, and lots of religious symbols throughout the center.
I brought t-shirts and a rosary for each of the men. I gave books to the director for the house to use; three copies of the AA Big Book, 3 copies of Living Sober, and a copy of the 12 Steps & 12 Traditions and my Spanish bible. Surprising to me, none of which they had in the center.
Several of them graciously witnessed to us and shared their story. Many started by smoking marijuana and them moved on to cocaine. After years of using many lost everything and ended up on the street before they found their way to Vida Nueva.
To see the joy in their eyes that people came to listen to their story, to know someone cared and to watch them receive gifts was priceless. They were truly grateful for the visit.
I spoke briefly about finding freedom in Christ and gave them words of encouragement. When we got ready to leave they prayed a rosary for us (me & my two translators, Megan & Katherine). My heart was truly moved by the gesture. It was a beautiful moment of grace for all.