Special Times Require Special Measures


Our team member Marie Dewald (29) from Lima responded to the challenges to everyday life at our Transformation House in Peru posed by the two-year lockdown with extraordinary dedication. Since then, things have never been the same again.

TMI: When the COVID pandemic broke out, you spontaneously moved into the Transformation House. Why was that necessary?

Marie: It was in March 2020, when a two-week curfew was imposed for the whole of Lima at very short notice. I had been working on the management team of the Transformation House on a day-to-day basis for several years before that. During the lockdown, I wanted to be on site all the time. That has now turned into two years, because despite the easing of the resptrictions, the quarantine is still not completely over for the children. They continue to have distance learning.

TMI: Since you moved in, you have taken on more and more responsibility.

Marie: Yes, today I manage the Transformation House, which includes 13 children between the ages of nine and 17, eight team members plus our two volunteers. I have almost completely cut back on my job as a fashion designer. This allows me to be available to our team here 24 hours a day to guide and support them.

TMI: What is your vision as director of the Transformation House?

Marie: My goal is for "our" children to be transformed by encountering the love of God. I want them to see that they can do something much cooler with their lives than what is considered normal here.

TMI: What would be the "normal life" for these kids in Lima?

Marie: Normal would be for the girls to get pregnant at 15 and for the boys to have several loose female relationships and children scattered around the city. Their lives would consist of working to survive. They wouldn't have any prospects for the future.

TMI: ...and what is it like at the Transformation House?

Marie: We as team want to help the children break the limit of their own horizons and encourage them. One example: We have a girl here who has now learned to play three to four instruments. She wants to become a sound engineer. Before she came to us, she looked after her little brother. There would have been no room for such dreams. In the middle of the lockdown, we saw very powerful changes in the children. Many were able to open up, find words for trauma they had experienced in their families, and were able to overcome it. For one boy who had previously been full of anger and hate, we were able to pray and see him changed to a child full of life. His tantrums have since disappeared.

TMI: You are a Christian. What does that have to do with your work at Transformation House?

Marie: As a teenager, I decided to always be where God wanted me to be. That is currently here at the Transformation House. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing that I can do my part to help transform the lives of our children. That has value for eternity.

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