Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Special Request

Dear Friends, 
I usually am not as forward in my requests, but we have a special need in 2016 that I am asking for your help with.
Several of our Mayan elementary students have graduated from elementary school, which is a major achievement for them, considering their level of poverty. Four of these students have no middle school to go onto; the local ones closed recently. Governmental corruption at the highest levels in Guatemala are creating havoc with all aspects of life in Guatemala, and some of the schools have closed for lack of funding. 


I am reaching out to you to ask if each of you could gather a group of 3-4 friends to show our documentary to. If each viewer went into our Paypal link (donate button to the right) and set up to auto-donate just $10 a month, we could potentially educate both of Dominga's children in a boarding school that FFF has a personal affiliation and trust with. This school not only is accredited, but it is a boarding school that allows the children to learn organic gardening, cooking skills, animal husbandry, computer science and an overall excellent education 18 days a month. This rotation allows the students to go home 12 days a month to continue helping harvesting in the fields, harvesting firewood and helping with younger siblings while their mothers harvest coffee beans during the season. We have had a student at the Maya Jaguar school for the last few years and she received an excellent education and plans to go onto nursing school!
These students have a keen desire to continue with their schooling. Keeping Mayan girls in school is vital toward preventing early marriage and pregnancies. 

Dominga with food donated by FFF

Blanca and Fernando (L) are the two oldest children of one of the moms in our program, Dominga. Dominga's husband left her because of her congenital malformation (she is missing a hand) but he waited until she had five children to care for. He provides no support of any kind, and with her missing hand, harvesting in the fields to earn a living is impossible for her. Dominga does not read or write but she still has a strong desire to educate her children. We have provided scholastic scholarships to her children for three years but the extra financial burden of having the children in middle school is more than we can afford. The tuition is a hefty $2,500 per child, and we can't justify this expense for two children without raising funds for them independently of our normal budget.
We have gotten this family so far; it would be wonderful to see the two oldest children continue to prepare themselves for a solid future through advanced schooling.
Any effort our donors could make on getting a small group together between now and the end of the year to view the documentary and secure a small donation toward these particular children would be much appreciated. 

Copies can be obtained by emailing me at
Happy Holidays!
Jody Greenlee, Executive Director 
Dominga's former house
House donated by FFF

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Our Best Trip Ever. Here is Why

 Friends who knew that Finding Freedom volunteers were in Guatemala a few weeks ago are asking how our trip went.
 Without forethought, we are all finding ourselves saying, "It was our best trip ever."
The justification for this response is easy. This particular trip excelled in witnessing what we are all working hard to achieve: improved health and well-being of our Finding Freedom Widows and their children.
It is difficult at best to define the term well-being. There is a radiance that transcends words when we see an FFF family that looks better than they did when we visited last year. The worry lines in widows faces are softened. Cheekbones are less angular and the children are more rambunctious as they ease back into childhoods more free from concerns over food and shelter. There is an emotional liberation for the widows in our program; provide them with water proof housing and concrete floors and watch how a woman and her children blossom. For those of us who have never slept on a wet dirt floor, or struggled to pay rent in a hut that leaks rain, or consigned your children to coffee plantations for a few dollars a day in wages, worries like these are hard to identify with. 
Here are some examples of that glow we witnessed. Change for FFF mothers and their children is a good thing. And it shows.
Gabriela, at her father's hospital bed after he lost 2 limbs  falling off of a train
Gabriela, now working in a restaurant

Maria, far left, 2012 in front of former home. Her mother is chronically ill with asthma and TB.
Education and housing security is allowing Maria to blossom. Three years ago the family moved into their donated FFF house, and her mother is in our medical program. 
Two years ago this FFF mother was living in this unfinished building, struggling to find work and housing for her 3 children. The details of her difficulties are too graphic for this post. 
She now has rental assistance, scholarship assistance and monthly food donations for her children. Working 12 hour days still only provides meager wages but O. feels grateful to be on her feet again.(FFF board member Faby on left)