Category Archives: Central America

Dec 11 2008

Bobís report: Visit to El Salvador and Honduras

Preachers mission awareness trip
Dec. 2-9, 2008

CFCA preachers make history with first preacher awareness trip

This is a very special group and a very special opportunity for all participants, for the projects, for our beloved sponsored and for CFCA.†Nine CFCA†preachers attended†our first preacher†awareness trip to gain a deeper sense of the CFCA world. The El Salvador hosts were the sponsored families, Henry Flores, Yessenia Alfaro and the entire CFCA team. In Honduras, the hosts were the sponsored families, CFCA staff leaders Miriam Cartagena, Luis Jaco and the entire CFCA Team.

participants

On Dec. 3, CFCA scholar Martita spoke in our opening prayer. Abandoned by her father when she was just 2, her mother struggled to send her children to school. Martita will graduate in one year with a bachelorís in computer science and administration. After learning that Martitaís CFCA scholarship covered only half of her university expenses, Father Jim OíToole stepped forward and offered to become her sponsor.

Personal stories stand out

Tradition among the sponsored families in Tacuba is to silently hide in the church and surprise the mission awareness trip participants who arrive thinking that the town is still asleep. Father Bob Hasenkamp celebrated Holy Mass with Salvadoran Father Edwin Roberto Nunez.

When speaking of language limitations, Father Bob Hasenkamp mentioned that ìwe speak with our eyes and our hearts.î

Family visits along with natural and stimulating interchanges followed. The preachers commented that they were hearing really fine anecdotes for their personal edification and for their preaching.
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Sep 26 2008

How you experience the food crisis depends on where you live

People with the means to cope with rising prices experience the food crisis through the news.

But people living in poverty experience the food crisis directlyóthrough their stomachs.

Take the story of Sandra, a 38-year-old mother of four who lives in El Salvador. She no longer can afford to buy certain food items. If it wasnít for CFCA benefits, her children wouldnít have milk to drink. Sandra makes about $6 a day selling lemons in the public market. When things get bad, the family eats tortillas and margarine for dinner.

In Kenya, 20-year-old Peter said his family canít afford to buy bread. Meat? Only for Christmas, Kenyan Independence Day and weddings. Breakfast? Tea with milk and sugar.

In Antipolo, Philippines, 45-year-old Myrna is a mother of seven. She does laundry for $5 a day when her carpenter husband doesnít have work. On days with lower income, the family eats porridge or skips meals. On paydays, they are able to enjoy rice with fish and vegetables. One of Myrnaís children is sponsored through CFCA.

Two mothers in Hyderabad, IndiaóBhulakshmi and Maniósaid their cost of food has doubled in a year. They must be satisfied with rice and pickles because they no longer can afford fruits and vegetables.

These are the hidden faces behind statistics reported by the U.S. Department of Agricultureís Economic Research Service. The ERS compared expenditures on food in countries around the world (as a percentage of total expenditures using 2006 dataónot including restaurant purchases):

United States††††† †† 5.7%
United Kingdom††††8.8%
Germany††††††††††††† †11.5%
Chile†††††††††††††††††††† 23.5%
Mexico††††††††††††††††††24.3%
Philippines††††††††††† 37.6%
Ecuador†††††††††††††††† 21.8%
Bolivia†††††††††††††††††† 29.0%
Peru†††††††††††††††††††††† 29.3%
India††††††††††††††††† ††† 33.4%††

Wondering if there’s more you can do to help? Read about CFCA’s Food Crisis Assistance Fund.

To view the full U.S. Department of Agriculture report, click here.

Time.com published a photographic comparison of what families in different nations eat in a weekís time. Click here to see this photo essay.

By Monte Mace, writer and editor in the CFCA-Kansas City office. With reporting and photography from Henry Flores, El Salvador; Sister Joanne Gangloff, Kenya; and Maria Lourdes Navio in the Philippines.

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Sep 19 2008

“I’ve been waiting a very long time for you”

Sponsors Jack and Deanne Anderson visited their sponsored child, Jose, in Guatemala this year. Here Deanne describes the experience of meeting Jose.

When you listen to the words of Bob Hentzen’s song ìLove the Childrenî not much else needs to be said. Our trip to Guatemala proved to be one of the most beautiful and meaningful events we have experienced in a long time.

Jack and I have been blessed with three children and seven grandchildren. We are a close family and we have many dear friends. We have traveled all over the world, but nothing prepared us for what we experienced going to Guatemala to meet our sponsored child, Jose.

Immediately upon our arrival Bob and his staff made us feel like we were special. We had no idea what was in store for us. That night we met the people we would be spending the week with and got to know a little more about CFCA. Next morning we loaded into the vans and off we went on a three-hour journey to the CFCA project. The welcome we received was that of royalty or movie stars. The children were all cheering and their band was playing. It was unbelievable. That evening after dinner the sponsored children gave a performance. The first of a nightly event we all looked forward to.

Sponsor Deanne meets her sponsored child, Jose, in Guatemala.

Sponsor Deanne meets her sponsored child, Jose, in Guatemala.

Monday was the day Jack and I had been waiting for; we were going to meet Jose, our sponsored child. The emotions we felt the moment we saw him cannot be put into words, or if I did try it would take many pages of typing. His mom, dad, and little niece came with him so there was lots of hugging and tears. Then came the joy and excitement of getting to know each other through a great interpreter. Again, I wish I could share each moment of the time we spent together. All the sponsored children gave a little performance and Jose’s was a beautiful poem he wrote for Jack and me. Well more tears and hugs followed. We took lots and lots of pictures and loved each minute we had with him.

Finally, it was time to say goodbye. Again, more hugs and tears of joy when we knew we would be back again to visit this very special child the Lord brought into our lives. One thing I must share are the words of Jose when he looked at Jack and I with tears in his eyes and said, “I’ve been waiting a very long time for you.”
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Sep 17 2008

Bob’s report: Visit to Honduras

Mission Awareness Trip
Aug. 23 ñ 30, 2008

What kind of a country can we offer them?

Alongside a tremendous wealth gap, endemic corruption, organized crime and neighborhood gangs, you see the beauty of family relationships, the inspiring example of a struggling mother, the youthful spirit with close to half the population under age 19, a fertile land and a strong work ethic.

We can add a tremendous resilience after tragedies like Hurricane Mitch (1998) which killed some 5,000 and destroyed 70 percent of the crops. Unfortunately, thousands of promising Hondurans, most of them young, leave the country every year, most of them for the U.S. Basically, they are seduced by human traffickers who rake in $5,000-$6,000 per head per trip north. Farm families abandon their land and go into life-threatening debt for this one chance. When the sojourners are caught and deported, the families remain in debt for many years.†

Family testimony at morning prayer

Our group arrived for Sunday morning Mass at Las Mercedes Parish in El Progresso after the church was full, so we rounded out the doorway, greeting Father Raymond Pease, a veteran of 40 years in El Progreso.

Lourdes, her son, Cristian, 11, and daughter, Katia, 13, gave a beautiful testimony as part of our morning prayer on the second day of the trip. Lourdes and Wilfredo (working today) have seven children. They have hopes for better housing for their family, but for now, they are living in one room on property owned by Lourdesí mother. Lourdes is very grateful for the sponsorship of Cristian and Katia, so grateful that she serves as a liaison with the 169 sponsored families in Barrio Sandoval in San Pedro Sula.

We had a pleasant drive from San Pedro Sula, and then enjoyed several nice receptions by children and families, complete with hand-made banners and lots of hymns. One of the dads, Don Lorenzo, shared a song which he had composed about CFCA. Moms and dads talked of their participation (by the hundreds) in the various aspects of the project.†
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Sep 17 2008

Bob’s report: August visit to Guatemala

Mission Awareness Trip
Aug. 9-16, 2008

Since the early days of CFCA, the children, elderly and families of Guatemala have been close to our hearts. Currently we are blessed to have over 90,000 sponsored, including children, aging, scholars and vocations. In turn, these families have been blessed with a loving and devoted CFCA staff. Cristina and I are most grateful to call this CFCA community home.

Featuring Manuel Santizo

Manuel (Meme) Santizo is one of those strong and faithful servants who seem to enjoy working hard, but usually very much in the background. Meme is our site manager and handles everything related to maintenance and improvement of the CFCA facilities. Our place in San Lucas Toliman hums with activity, either staff workshops or mission awareness trips or welcoming our neighborhood children in their Ecological Club. In every instance, youíll find Meme quietly getting things done, and always with a smile. Meme is married to Claudia, a Mayan woman of the Kakchiquel ethnic group and a career elementary teacher in the nearby village of El Naranjo.

Welcome to my worldÖpotential

All over the CFCA world, we endeavor to present the most positive side of Godís humble people. CFCA Presenter Fr. Jim OíToole radiates excitement when he says, ìWe see potential.î Focusing on dignity and potential, we try to avoid shock treatment on our sponsors. The daily reality of our sponsored families is shocking enough.†
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