A Guatemalan cemetery decorated on Day of the Dead.
Guatemalans celebrate Day of the Dead on Nov. 1 and 2, coinciding with All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The celebrations are a way to remember loved ones who have passed away.
“We celebrate with a mixture of traditions from the Maya and the Spaniards,” said Norma, whose son, Rodvin, is sponsored through Unbound in Guatemala. “My mother showed me to offer fruits, food, flowers and any other things that our deceased liked when alive. We believe that they visit us on this day to share the offerings that we prepare for them. We also believe in prayers as a way of talking with them and asking God for their eternal rest.”
For those compelled to think that people who live in poverty have nothing but their need to offer the world, I might begin by offering them the example of the extraordinary group, Migasy. This ensemble of musicians from the Unbound Madagascar community has developed a sophisticated sound with thoughtful messages. Messages that move humanity forward. These are engaged people who, amidst struggle, have committed themselves to creating works of art.
As they played song after song for us, I thought about the instruments that they played — some of them borrowed, some of them held together with rubber bands and plastic. These are the stories that don’t come through the music at first listen. They must be told. So should the very fact that they shared their music with us so others might have opportunity to go to school through Unbound scholarships. They were proud to do it.
As we recorded, the spirit in the room was of generosity. For each of the artists in Migasy, the desire to grow as musicians and offer something of substance moves them forward. For my part, I simply felt lucky to be in the presence of beautiful artists who had managed to do so much with so little.
It is the best of our human spirit set to music. It’s their gift to us.
Caitlyn meets Ever and his family for the first time.
By Naresli Calito, correspondent for Unbound in El Salvador
Caitlyn had the opportunity to meet her sponsored friend, Ever, on an awareness trip to El Salvador. She is 16 years old, likes to read and enjoys sharing time with her family. They are very close to their faith and frequently attend church.
Although she is young, she has a very strong feeling about helping others. She babysits to pay for Ever’s sponsorship.
“[Sponsorship] makes me feel I need and want to be involved,” Caitlyn said. “It’s a great feeling. I love Ever. It’s about forming a bond with someone from another culture.”
By Becky Spachek, evaluation specialist for Unbound
Becky Spachek is an evaluation specialist for Unbound in Kansas City. She recently traveled to Guatemala to visit sponsored friends and their families in their homes to learn about their experiences with sponsorship to better understand how their economic reality is impacted by the program. Becky describes a day on her trip in this blog post.
In Guatemala, there are many ways to say happy birthday. With Spanish as the official language of the country, feliz cumpleaños is one option. But with more than 20 indigenous Mayan languages, there are many to choose from.
Kakchiquel is one of the Mayan dialects in Guatemala, and some of our sponsored friends who speak it wanted to share with you how they say happy birthday.
Help make Unbound birthdays special by donating to the Birthday Fund.
Today is International Friendship Day. Unbound is all about fostering friendships that cross borders and span cultures. On awareness trips hosted by Unbound, sponsors can meet their sponsored friends face to face. To celebrate the many friendships formed through sponsorship, we want to share with you photos of sponsors and their sponsored friends.
Rosy and her sponsor, Maria Soleri, in Ecuador.
Pavithra and her sponsor, Ellen Raspitha, sit on the floor of Pavithra’s home in India.
Christine and her sponsor, Leila Felix, in Kenya.
Francisca and her sponsor, Thomas Slattery, in the Philippines.
A group of teenage sponsors from the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in New York play soccer with sponsored teens in El Salvador.
Bonnie and Warren Breitbarth with their sponsored friend Christian in Mexico.
Sponsor Sam Emmite with his sponsored friend Ximena and her mom and little sister in Ecuador.
Sponsor John Vos and his sponsored friend, Mark, in the Philippines.
Sponsor Toni Guidice with sponsored friends Jackline (left) and Josephine (right) in Kenya.
Amini (center) walks with her sponsors Maureen, Michael and Emily Watts in India.
Meet your sponsored friend on an Unbound Awareness Trip. Check out our trips page for more information.
Maheen and Shazia take part in a Ramadan celebration in India.
Ramadan is an important part of the year for sponsored friends from the Muslim faith. It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims around the world as a month of fasting. On the last day of Ramadan, or Ramzan in India, there is a feast called Eid Ul Fitr, the feast of breaking the fast.
Last year, our Hyderabad program held an Eid Ul Fitr celebration for Muslim and non-Muslim sponsored members and their families. Along with food to break the fast, the celebration featured presentations given by mothers and sponsored youth. It was a chance to share Muslim traditions and celebrate the varied cultures in the Unbound community.