Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Love Liberates

Maria, with new refrigerator for her micro business
Maria, (left) is our first Finding Freedom client, and it was her situation that inspired our board members to start our organization in 2009. 
Maria and Finding Freedom through Friendship founder Jody met in Guatemala when Maria asked for assistance in obtaining medicine and food for her children. Maria's husband had abandoned the family when her son became sick with hepatitis.

At the time there was no Finding Freedom through Friendship. It was a glimmer in the back of our minds as board members, but the demands of starting a nonprofit were too daunting for our already-busy selves. After being confronted with the stark reality of Maria's life as a single mother of four children and a caretaker to an elderly mother, we were inspired to make the dream of assisting abandoned women in Guatemala a reality. 

 In our three year relationship with this little family there have been many significantly positive changes.

Before we knew her, Maria had the weight of the world on her shoulders. She was only fourteen when she became a parent-her sister abandoned her baby and Maria became an instant mother. Marrying at an early age, Maria quickly had three more children, while caring for her elderly mother. She needed food, shelter, and medical care for her children. More importantly, she and her children needed this:

Maria and Faby

Inspiration, caring, love and hope. 
Belief in a brighter future through the direct hands-on help of someone who cared enough to say "You can do this, and we will be there to walk the journey with you."

Vinnie, FFF board member and support person for Maria

Faby and Vinnie, our two Guatemalan board members, represent that hope for Maria and her family. They are there....working out the details of hiring the builder for Maria's new home, after finding the lawyer to place the land FFF purchased into Maria's name. Delivering the food, after carefully purchasing what will best feed the family one meal a day for a month. Purchasing and delivering beds, a table and chairs so the family has rudimentary furniture. 
Taking frantic calls when Maria was robbed, and keeping the other board members updated on the details. Providing a good role model for little boys who have no father. Buying school uniforms, supplies, and shoes. Driving for 6 hours during each trip it took to accomplish these things.
In other words, doing all of the things that are needed to lift up a young, overwhelmed mama. 
The night I met Maria three years ago, she was scared and alone. 
As you can see through her words below, she now has hope for a better tomorrow.