Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Blues

 For the last three weeks, I've been living in the basement while our hardwood floors were being redone. Sleeping on the couch, feeling misplaced and disgruntled, but grateful all the same that I had floors to refinish. And a couch to sleep on, blankets to keep me warm. And heat, water, dishes, coffee. And a husband willing to pay the bill. 
The "ands" go on and on.
All of the things Magdalena's family does not have. This is their "couch"; three blankets, and a floor.
There is no heat, water, electricity, food, or father (he died when Magdalena was pregnant with the baby). The children have inadequate clothing. The oldest child is 9 years old. Their mother is 23. You don't want to do the math.

Magdalena's five children

When I was lying on the couch at night, wishing I could be back in my bed, I thought of Magdelena, a young widow in northern Guatemala. 
Here is what I would like to ask her:
How does it feel to be a 23 year old widow in remote northern Guatemala where there are no social services, no Social Security, no food banks? How do you sleep at night with no lock on the door, in a rental home with a leaky roof that turns your floor, with your sleeping children lying on it, into mud for weeks upon weeks in the rainy season? What do you do to soothe your nerves at 2 AM when you know your children are going to awaken, expecting a breakfast that isn't there? What keeps you from leaning on the next male who walks in the door promising to feed your babies, and you are just 23, and feeling like a baby yourself? How do you sustain hope? How do you nourish your spirit so that you can care for your children's emotional needs? When fear grips your throat and incapacitates you, how do you survive?
What can we do to help you? 
And then, when I heard her answers, which are the same answers of mothers in any developing country, I would ask the leaders of the world;

Why is it, in this time of incredible resources, that mothers don't have what they need to nourish and educate the next generation of children?
I want to know their answers.