The squatter communities around Caracas cling to the sides of hills and cliffs. Winding through the mountain passes, you see shacks hovering on the edges with trailings of garbage flowing downward. The homes appear to float on these streams, suspended on the waste they produce.
Battered dump trucks belch thick black smoke as they reverse up to the edges to deposit more filth down one-pristine mountainsides. Scavengers run in for the choice pickings. Children and dogs sift through the remnants of discarded materials and food.
Up and down the precipices of rock and interlocked abodes, run zigzagged stairways flanked by crude pipes, open sewers and trash chutes. The stairways seem to disappear into the smoky air above as they cut and curve on the brink.
In America and the West, mountain-top homes and panoramic views are to be prized and coveted. However, in the hovels of the developing world, close proximity to jobs, civil infrastructure, transportation and opportunity is the more favored location. The cherished and esteemed home sites are at the base of the mountain. To traverse up the stairs is to go higher in geographical elevation, but lower in economical status.
Many people have to ascend hundreds of treads and rises to return to their slum homes. Every step upwards represents one rung lower on the social ladder. Each step closer to the summit brings further decay, hopelessness and an increase in the precursors that cause the orphaning and abandoning of children.
Here, in the heights, prostitution and idolatry are rampant. Frequent fires are the result of witchcraft and occult rituals. At night, gunshots replace the sounds of play and laughter.
Just as pagan temples sit on peaks throughout Asia, the worst of spiritual and physical depravity dwells in many high places of Latin America. God will eventually bring the high places low. And He has already set the narrow path. It does not zigzag. It is straight.