Monday, October 22, 2012

A Woman of Strength

Readers of this blog may sometimes think that the women we assist are downtrodden, faint of heart and lacking in strength. Nothing could be further from the truth, and in fact, working with them gives me inspiration as I see firsthand just how resourceful they are.
There is a popular reality show called Preppers. The series showcases different American families as they prepare, each in their own way, for what they conceive as a future catastrophic event. The participants of this show would do well to learn from the women Finding Freedom through Friendship assists.
When you are an abandoned woman with children in rural Guatemala, and there are no social services available to help you, you learn quickly how to make scarce resources stretch. Without electricity, one learns to work by dim light and get essential tasks done in daylight hours. When water is only available if you haul it from a nearby polluted creek, you teach your children to use little and use it well. One bed in the house means a mother becomes creative on how to keep children warm when they have to sleep on a cold moist dirt floor. Scarce food resources force the knowledge on which local herbs grown in nearby mountains to be used wisely, so that soup can be made to fill your children's stomachs. Leftovers at mealtime are not a problem. There is no food waste, no recycling of McDonald's garbage needed, no food container refuse. Recycling? Rural Guatemalans live this concept every day. Clothing is passed down until it no longer usable. Tree stumps become chairs. One blanket serves many. One traditional skirt is used until it is no longer usable.
When Lucia's husband abandoned the family, it was a catastrophic event for her. She was suddenly left with no income, no home, no land and no way to feed her children. Prepping for hardship felt familiar to Lucia, and she has done an amazing job of maintaining her family. She is a woman of strength.