Monday, June 15, 2015

In Honor of Día del Padre: A Few Good Men

Finding Freedom through Friendship exists because of men, or rather, the lack of them. The widows and abandoned Guatemalan women and their children in our program were in crisis in the mountains of Central America; without a good husband, children go hungry and women are without emotional and physical shelter. A family, in the truest sense of the word, is fractured and children are left broken when a father is missing.
Frequent readers of our blog might think that there are so few good men left that Guatemala's population is in danger of decline. 
Not so. 
We would like to introduce you to some outstanding fathers.
This is Victor (R).  In his childhood Victor was a patient for several years in the United States, during which time he learned English. Never one to let an opportunity get by him, Victor built on every chance given him, and he now owns his own transport/tourism company in Guatemala (Victor's Company). He is our driver when we are in-country, our translator, cultural advisor and overall "go to" guy to get even the most difficult situations taken care of. Need something done in Guatemala? Victor will get it done, always with a great attitude and sense of humor. He is a wonderful husband and father and takes caring for his family, and our organization, very seriously. 

Vinnie, during an FFF home visit with some special boys
Vinnie is another example of the kind of man every country needs more of. He is intelligent, kind, and devoted to God ( Vinnie's church) and his family. Vinnie starts every day with prayer and a fierce determination to make the world a better place by doing the right thing. Remember the two brothers with EB (their story here) who are in our program? Vinnie is their role model. He prays for them, delivers our monthly food donations to the family and loves these boys like his own. Their joy when they are with him is evident. I've watched this kind and amazing man cry as he prays over these chronically ill children. He is passionate about life and an enthusiastic servant of God.
Pedro, our translator

Pedro is quiet, hard working and intelligent. He is one of millions of Guatemalan men who strive to do their best under difficult circumstances. The lack of opportunity for work in his village hasn't stopped him from trying to provide for his wife and children. He started a small restaurant which serves as a base for many of our FFF mothers. When someone in the community is in need of help, they turn to Pedro because they know he is our liaison in his region of remote Guatemala. During our home visits he translates for the women we serve who do not speak Spanish and they trust him with their history. He wears his responsibility well, despite being without a home of his own following damage from the last earthquake. 
And because our support comes from the states, we must include two of the best examples of American men we know. 
Mike is our board vice president, a talented physician and ultimate humanitarian. He has worked in Guatemalan annually for years, all while juggling a challenging work and church schedule. Residing in Denver, Mike makes responsibilities that would crush the ordinary man look easy. He is a kind, caring and competent man who has inspired many younger men to aspire to be the kind of man Mike is. He and his wife Wendy have raised three young adults who will carry their values forward into the next generation.
Mike and family

The ever-patient husband

Last but definitely not least is Tom, husband to Jody, our Executive director. The amount of money Tom has spent since the year 2000 to send his wife and children to Guatemala to volunteer could have earned him early retirement. Here is the look he has when his wife tells him she has booked yet another trip to Guatemala on his Visa card. He tries hard not to think of the cost of 26 plane tickets and lost income from his wife, who volunteers in Guatemala rather than contributing to the household income.  

To all of these men, who so easily carry the mantle of what it means to be a good man and father, we can only say: