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)