Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Contrast in Childhoods

   I love this photo taken years ago of my youngest child. The word "joy" comes to mind when you see it; unadulterated childhood pleasure while playing with new puppies. An all-American scene of a treasured child who has the freedom to abandon herself to an afternoon of playtime. 
 Guatemalan cousins Sebastian and Pedro lost the chance at a normal childhood when their respective mothers died. Soon after, the boys and their sisters were abandoned by their fathers and were left for their mutual grandmother to raise. Their grandmother is dependent on them to chop and carry firewood.  Their ten year old sister does the family laundry on a washboard with water hauled from a local source. What American mother doesn't cringe when noting the machete both boys are carrying? The clothing the boys are wearing stays the same from the waist down. One of our board members just raised money for the family to have a new bed, blankets and a mattress, and we sent money for shoes. 
Estela, at home

Our mission statement is this:  Providing critical needs such as food, clothing, education and shelter for the abandoned women and their children in our program. We like to think that one of the byproducts of our work is that Pedro, Sebastian and all of the forty-three children in Finding Freedom's program will be given back some childhood moments of relaxation. That they will, as children around the world deserve to, find more moments free of concern about where their school supplies will come from, if they will have a meal to eat before they start the day, of if rain will seep into their sleeping pallet at night.
  We expect a bright future for our sponsored students like Estela, who is thriving in her new boarding school. 
Playing soccer at boarding school

"Estela, a vibrant 14-year-old Mayan girl, is our youngest new student.   She arrived with her classmates at our mountain-top school after traveling more than four hours on the back of pick-up trucks—enthusiastic, cheerful, and eager to embrace the waiting adventures of school life."
Frances Dixon, Mayan School President

Our hope for our Guatemalan students is that they have the ability to enjoy their childhood, school and relax in the security of a home where basic needs are met.