‘Panabus’ delivers cleanups and checkups to struggling Venezuelans

World Today

The “Panabus” is giving struggling citizens in Caracas much needed help. This can be hard to come by, in a country where almost 80 percent of households live in poverty.

CGTN’s Juan Carlos Lamas has more.
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The Panabus helps those without regular access to food, hygiene and medical help. Volunteers staff the program, which started three months ago.

“We have helped more than 100 people since we started last November, and we have no plans to stop,” Maria Eugenia Goncalves said. “We’ll continue driving in the streets.”

Former boxer Ruben Bravo is one of the residents who’s receiving help from the program. Today, he used the bus to take a shorter (his first in two weeks), get some clean clothes and a haircut.

“For me, Panabus is like a second home,” Bravo said. “But despite all the help we can receive here, for me there’s something else which goes beyond, and it is the help of a person who does it with love. For me, that’s enough.”

Designers squeezed in a shower, hairdressing salon, and a doctor’s office staffed by two doctors and several counselors.

“I used to live in the streets, and now I don’t, thanks to Panabus,” volunteer Jesus Gomez said. “I want to help others overcome their street conditions just like I did.”

The bus is well named – the word “pana” means “friend” in Venezuela.

Venezuela is facing a deep and prolonged economic crisis, but through the hard work of doctors and counselors, along with donations of food and clothing, this friendly bus is changing lives one stop at a time.