Friday, November 23, 2012

Hope


Katie in Kentucky
Estela in Guatemala
This is my daughter Katie. She is twenty, a college student and a good friend to all who know her. She recently came home to use my kitchen so she could make a home cooked meal for her best friends who were in town for the holidays. Katie cooked everything from scratch in our well-equipped kitchen. She made stuffed shells with homemade sauce, Cesar salad, Texas toast, and her specialty: a pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling. Her friends had a great time catching up after months of not seeing each other. It was wonderful to have the girls over and see how they had matured into bright young women who will change the world, each in their own way.
Estela's kitchen
Two thousand miles away, Estella lives in the mountains of Guatemala. She is equally as beautiful as my daughter. And that is about where any analogies end. Estela's home is not one that she could invite friends into. If she did, there would be no food to share. She is the oldest of six children who have no father in the home and a mother that scratches out a living doing laundry for a few dollars a week. The one thing she does have is hope. Finding Freedom has been fortunate to raise the funds available to send Estela to Adopt-A-Village Maya Jaguar School (http://adoptavillage.com/), where she will receive a quality education rarely available to girls her age in the community she resides in. Her family is targeted to have a donated house built by our organization in the spring of 2013, after which Estela will live on concrete floors and be protected from the weather. While attending school, she will be the beneficiary of good meals, fellowship with other good students in the community, and she will learn essential skills such as gardening.
Belief in herself and her ability to live a life of self-sufficiency will be her biggest benefit of these gifts. Finding Freedom through Friendship + education = hope.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Do You See Me? Can you Hear Me?

Our six month old  white golden retriever has an endearing way of getting our attention. He brings us his stuffed animal of choice, stands at our feet while wagging his tail, and begs (which involves a low groan and lots of eye contact with those big brown eyes) for us to play. In dog language, this means "Do you see me? Do you hear me? Want to play?" We can rarely resist, which is one reason I am posting this somewhere just before 1 AM.
Max is an American dog, and has been brought up with all of his emotional and physical needs being met. He was fed when he was hungry, he is warm at night, and he is loved. He gets treats, he gets lots of attention and he has a nice dog bed.  As a result, this dog knows he is special. He is centered, emotionally balanced, and as long as he has his monkey, he is happy.
Marta has no tricks for getting noticed. In fact, she wouldn't dream of being singled out for attention. It isn't the "way" in her village, nor in her culture. Her mother is a widow, following the death of her husband who succumbed to Tuberculosis in 2010. The needs within this small family are so enormous that Marta knows better than to ask for anything. Her one meal a day is supplied by Finding Freedom through Friendship. We delivered a bed last Tuesday-the family did not have one. When I visited the family last month, I was offered the only chair, which was a tree stump. Her shirt was donated by a neighbor. There is water outside in the yard but the house has no electricity.
Meanwhile, Finding Freedom is working on finding the funds to build Marta and her family a home, so we can put them on concrete floors instead of dirt. Marta will be sponsored for school in January. Her needs, even if she can't find words to express what she dares not hope for, will be met.
We wish we could send Max to Guatemala to play with her...that would put a smile on her face!