Thursday, February 13, 2014

Who Are you, Anyway?

Many people wonder about the name of our organization, but they aren't forward enough to ask. Today was the day.
Our local postal worker, who has seen our return address label many times, couldn't help himself.

"Just who is this Finding Freedom through Friendship organization anyway?" he asked. 

There was a long line behind me, it was 20 degrees outside, we were nearing  the end of a hard winter, and people were edgy. Our post office is small; I knew my answer, as well as the question, would be heard by all who stood behind me.
I was stumbling...I needed a short, concise answer. It wasn't a good time to engage in conversation, unless I wanted the customers behind me to stampede the line.

" We promote positive feelings by fostering friendships," I replied.

There was a long pause on his part.

"Well I have lots of friends,"he replied," and I don't feel positive or happy."

To which I mumbled something about how sorry I was, as I scurried out the door.

Here is what I wanted to tell him:

We work on building up the emotional and physical stamina of abandoned mothers in rural Guatemala through supporting their critical needs. We supply them and their children with food, housing and education. Our friendship promotes freedom from worry, from stress, and, most importantly, it gives Mayan women the freedom to be better mothers, because they are the only parent their children have. 

View from village in Guatemala

Except of course, I didn't have the time to say all of this, and he most likely didn't have the inclination to listen. Which is for the best, because once I start, it is hard to hold me back. The Finding Freedom through Friendship board members who are mothers know that parenting is one of the hardest jobs. The hours are endless, the rewards not always immediately visible, and the end result....we may not live long enough to see it. 

And this is on a good day. 
Add chronic hunger, lack of housing, inaccessibility to medical care for your sick family members, a lack of transportation to get your children to school and absent fathers and the obstacles are insurmountable. 

Paul the Postal Worker didn't have the time to understand that our board members are not necessarily concerned about creating friends in Guatemala. We have plenty of those here in our respective communities. 
We are however, heavily invested in creating a safer, healthier and more intellectual world for those abandoned women and their children who are within our circle of concern in the mountains of Guatemala where these resources are not available to them. 
 If, in doing so, if friendships are created, all the better.  

Manuela's hand-stitched thank you note following the donation of her new house