Friday, March 21, 2014

The Worried Child

Our board members are all parents, and in some cases, grandparents. We know what American children worry about. As their caretakers, we have watched over them and worried with them, often wondering if we had appropriate boundaries as we got a little too immersed in their issues.
They chewed their fingernails down as they watched scoreboards, test scores, took drivers education classes and fretted over prom date prospects. Julie in Kentucky rode her horse, and competed in difficult equestrian events. Kinsey in Colorado crossed her fingers behind her back as she watched from the stage for her Irish Dancing scores. Adriana in Rhode Island works hard in school and helps her mother raise funds for our work in Central America. 

In Guatemala, our Finding Freedom mother's have many children, all with their own personal concerns. Their concerns are a bit less complex...they don't have cars to qualify to drive, or horses to compete on.
Graciela (R) worries about someday finding a husband who will feed and shelter her, someone who will be faithful and who will work to support the children she will have. In a village where young men lack good role models, and many men are absent, she knows that this will be a challenge.

Maria (L) wonders what will happen if the Finding Freedom monthly food supplements stop being donated for her family. Before these donations, her mother begged from neighbors so she could feed her children. Maria hopes that she will be able to continue to go to school, not only because she likes it, but because it gives her a break from harvesting firewood and gathering herbs for soup. Her concerns are so intrinsic to her daily life that she would not understand a life without them.
Santa Ilaria (R) has trouble sleeping as she frets about her little sister, who hasn't walked for six months and has arthritis. She knows her mother won't be able to carry her sister up the mountains to cut firewood for much longer. She realizes that her mother is stretched to her limit, and her mother is the only parent she has. Ilaria's brother narrowly missed being sent to the sugar cane fields to become a contract worker, and she wonders if this will be her fate when she gets older. She knows girls in her village who are sent to live with families that hire them to do laundry and household work.

Brenda (above) works twelve hour days at a tortilla stand, and hopes that the few dollars a week she makes at age sixteen will help her mother buy food for the other seven children at home. She watches her back as she walks several miles home at night, down the dark alley to the shack her family lives in. When she turns the piece of wire that shuts the door to her yard, she knows just how fragile that wire is if someone from the local gang wanted to follow her in.
These children are some of the many in our program. They, and all children in the world, deserve to be free of worry.  We are working hard to make a carefree childhood a reality for more children in Guatemala.