Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Boys

Juan with school supplies from FFF
We write so often about girls on this blog. Girls who lack education, who live lives of servitude or grinding poverty which keeps them from blossoming into women who can live their best life.  Finding Freedom is all about supporting mothers who lack the critically important things like adequate food, shelter and medicines for their children. As a reader, you might think we concentrate only on females in Guatemala, and that we have forgotten about the boys.
This post is about a few exceptional boys, who we hope, with our support, will grow into even more exceptional men.

This (above) is Juan. At just over four feet tall, he already stands over his mother, who has lost most of her teeth and some of her bone density from maternal malnutrition. As one of two brothers in a fatherless household, Juan would soon be required to try to find a menial labor job to help his family financially. Keeping his family fed and Juan in school will stop that from happening. By supporting his family's critical needs for food, medical care and shelter, Finding Freedom is taking some of the financial pressure of of Juan's widowed mother. 
Juan doesn't know it yet, but without our support, his life would be one of endless menial low-paying jobs. Rural Mayan boys rarely get through secondary school in his village. Their labor is more valued, and the meager income more vital, than their education.

This (below) is William. When I stand in front of William, I see a quiet strength that could move mountains, if given the chance. William's desire in life is to be a teacher. This is an admirable goal; his father is deceased and his mother (shown) is illiterate. I made a personal promise to William that if he can get through high school, I will be at his graduation. So few young men in his village graduate from high school that it would be a cause for celebration!

William with his mother, Maria
Meanwhile, we are working on gathering funds to build William and his mother a house, so that the precious financial resources of $15 a month for rent can be used for food and clothing. The land that Finding Freedom donors purchased for the family last month has secured a future for William after his only parent passes away.
The benefits of this land purchase allows Maria to live on her own property throughout her lifetime, while giving her children a place to build on after marriage, should they choose to do so. William promised me that he will always look after his mother and sister. Supporting the needs of this young man will ensure that he in turn is a support system for his female relatives.
We recently secured water rights for the new land for William, his mother and sister. One small improvement at a time adds up to life changing security for this family. 

Eduardo with his new school shirt

Eduardo (R) is sporting his new school shirt that FFF donors paid for. He is the oldest male child in a fatherless household, and he understands his role to provide for his siblings. When his mother conscripted him as a contract laborer in the sugar cane fields two months ago he didn't question the need, but he desperately wanted to stay in school. Fortunately, a GoFundMe campaign raised enough money to allow this to happen, meaning that Eduardo may use his brains instead of his brawn for one more year. Educating Eduardo protects his mother from financial corruption by giving her an educated family member to turn to during transactions with the man who consigns with her for her craft items. 
Small improvements in the lives of these boys and the many others in our program bring big benefits to their current and future families. Sustaining young men gives them the tools they need to be strong fathers and spouses someday.