Rockhurst University students find sisterhood in Guatemala

Sponsored friend Adriana laughs with Rockhurst University students Alex and Alli.

Sponsored friend Adriana laughs with Rockhurst University students Alex and Alli.

By Rebecca Keeven, Rockhurst University student and Alpha Sigma Alpha member

In March, I traveled with a group of fellow Rockhurst University students to San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala, for a weeklong service-immersion trip. While preparing for this trip, I did the usual: packed, attended pre-trip meetings and made sure I was caught up on shots and vaccines.

During this time, I also filled out paperwork for an individual sponsor visit through Unbound. Four other women and I were going to have the opportunity to visit the child our sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha, sponsors. We filled out our paperwork, communicated with Unbound, and set up a date and time to meet our sponsored child, Adriana.

No doubt we were excited to meet her, but we didn’t think enough about this opportunity prior to, or during, our trip in Guatemala.

That’s why, when we met Adriana, her mother, Maria, and her younger brother, Denis, on our last full in day in Guatemala, we were overcome with joy and amazement. We felt joy for meeting Adriana and seeing the joy she herself had, but amazement for everything Adriana, her mother and brother did to meet us.

Adriana, her family and a few Unbound staff traveled over three hours by car through the mountainous Guatemalan terrain to reach San Lucas Tolimán by 9 a.m. Adriana, Maria and Denis were so excited to meet us that they were willing to wake before sunrise, make the day’s food for Adriana’s father and older brother who stayed home to work, and travel to a new place to meet five completely new faces. We were taken aback by the sacrifices and change to their normal activities that they were willing to make to meet us.

Maria told us over and over how thankful her family is to have our support for Adriana’s education. Denis was shy at first, but after three hours of visiting and ice cream, he was hugging us all and waving goodbye when they had to leave. Adriana simply loved being with us, and we couldn’t get enough of being with her.

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Through the help of our translator provided by Unbound, we talked with Adriana and found out that her favorite animal is a chicken and her family owns 12 of them. Her favorite color is sky blue, her favorite subject is Spanish, since her first language is a Mayan language, and she wants to be a teacher when she grows up.

Best of all, her mother told us that Adriana prays for us each night. This beautiful 7-year-old Guatemalan child, who lives more than 2,000 miles away from us, prays for us each night.

In that instant, we realized how much our sponsorship truly helps Adriana and her family. We realized that through our support, we are giving Adriana the opportunity to attend school, have decent meals and hopefully become a teacher one day. For this, Adriana and her family are truly grateful.

We not only realized what we were doing for Adriana, but what she did for us. Meeting Adriana opened up our hearts to the love and friendship that can come from even one interaction.

During our three-hour visit, Adriana showered us with her love, constant smile and gratitude. Before Adriana and her family left to go home, her mother gave each of us a tortilla basket she wove out of cornhusks. Once again, we were amazed by the time and sacrifices they made to not only meet us, but also thank us. Saying goodbye, Adriana gave each one of us a warm hug, holding on for several seconds.

As she was giving her last hug to one of our sorority sisters, she whispered into her ear, “Ustedes me caen muy bien,” which means, “I like you all a lot.”

We will never forget Adriana and how much love she gave us in three short hours. Although we five may not have the chance to visit Adriana again, we are looking forward to another group of our sorority sisters having the opportunity to visit her next year. We are so grateful to have had this chance and will always keep Adriana in our hearts.

Want to inspire a family like Adriana’s? Sponsor today.

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