Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What is Wrong With This Picture?

Dog beds the size of a twin mattress sell for $200 in U.S.

Petrona in her "kitchen"

Many dogs in America are admittedly (mine included) spoiled. It is a new social trend to dress, bathe, feed and tuck in our canine friends with only the best. Shoppers can hardly get through the aisles without encountering monogrammed clothing, hand painted food bowls, and yes, even birthday cakes for our furry friends. I'm used to this barrage of over-the-top consumer spending, even in a state that still has many versions of a "good old farm dog" hanging around rural barns.
But today it was just too much.
Our organization had just added Petrona to our list of women we help with critical needs. She is an eighty year old woman from remote northern Guatemala who has no living family members, and lives in a dirt floored "house". We are partnering with Adopt-A-Village Guatemala to get food delivered to Petrona monthly, so that hunger can be a memory instead of a reality.

Corn Donation from FFF

We are blessed to have the funds to be able to include Petrona in our feeding program. When we learned that Petrona has no bed, and sleeps on her dirt floor, we sent money for this also. I had just mailed the check to cover these costs when I saw these dog beds for sale.
 It takes a lot to stop me in my tracks. I spend my days trying to fit more in; more volunteer hours, more time with my children, more productivity in my patient care.  I'm used to consumer driven excess on store shelves. But seeing these dog beds, which would sleep a small family in Guatemala comfortably, gave me pause.
The lack of this basic human need--a warm, dry place to lay your head at night, is not unique to the poor in Guatemala, it is a common problem for millions of impoverished people world wide.
Our Finding Freedom through Friendship board members hope to someday live in a world that values a woman who has endured eighty years of a life of hard work, hunger, inadequate housing and the loss of everyone she holds dear as much as we value our dogs. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How Often Do We Really Listen?

This is Ana. She has had a very difficult life, which was made more so by the recent diagnosis of diabetes. Left alone to raise her five children in remote northern Guatemala, Ana had no social welfare resources available to help her with the critical needs of food and shelter for her family.
Adopt-A-Village Guatemala has networked with us to help Ana with food donations, educating her children and by providing funding for the construction of a new house for the family. They now have some basic essential household items, including beds and blankets and a wood-efficient stove.
Juan Francisco, a student in the school program under the direction of AAV, is seen in the photo on the right during his recent interview with Ana, which was part of a community school service project. It is one of the few times Ana had the pleasure of feeling listened to. Supporting the emotional needs of abandoned women in Guatemala is difficult at best...we are so busy assisting them with food deliveries and education assistance.
Everyone has a story. The history of survival and determination in the absence of hope is difficult at best. To sit and share her history with this student was a unique and precious moment in Ana's life journey.