Feb 14 2011

Mother finds mutual love, support in CFCA workshop

Happy Valentine’s Day to all our readers. On this day, we decided to highlight the love of a special family CFCA serves in Colombia.

Lidia and family in Colombia

Lidia, center, with her three children, from left: Duvon, Yuri and Wilmer.

Benjamin and Lidia are two hard-working parents trying to provide the best for their three children ñ Duvon, Wilmer and Yuri. The two eldest are sponsored in CFCA’s Hope for a Family program.

Lidia is active in a CFCA mothers group and has joined the ìMothers as Leadersî workshop, which prepares mothers to be leaders in their communities and serve as project liaisons for emergencies, announcements and program activities.

“This workshop relieves my stress,” Lidia said. “It’s my time ó a moment for me to step away from washing, cooking and milking. We do exercises, lie on the floor, relax and forget about our burdens. We close our eyes and learn to give ourselves time to realize that we are valuable women.”

The group ñ a source of friendship, community and education ñ has become Lidiaís own valentine. It has given her new skills and renewed her commitment to provide the best possible future for her children.

This family’s love is mirrored in thousands of other families throughout the CFCA world. On Valentineís Day, we celebrate that love.

Read more about Lidia’s story.

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Feb 7 2011

Marriage traditions in Guatemala

Valentineís Day is coming soon, and in the spirit of love, affection and marriage, we thought we’d share with you some marriage customs in Guatemala.

Henry Orlando, 24, was sponsored through CFCA from 1996 to 2008, when he graduated as an agricultural technician. He married Silvia, on Nov. 27, 2010. In this interview, Henry describes the traditions before and during his marriage ceremony.

How did you get engaged?

Silvia and I were engaged for three and a half years. Around Christmas 2009, we decided to get married.

We fixed the date for ìla pedidaî (asking the bride’s parents for her hand in marriage). Our ìpedidaî took place April 1, 2010. Usually an engagement ring is given, but I did not have the means to do so since I am attending the university.

Guatemalan bridal party

Pictures of the bridal party after the wedding service.

All my family acted as ìtortulerosî ó people who intercede for the groom during the pedida. My mother cooked a turkey, chicken and baskets of bread for my wifeís family as a sign of my commitment.

There is always a feeling of anxiety or fear during the pedida because the brideís parents may be less than amicable or because they may not like the groom.

During the pedida a time is set aside for ìlos consejosî (advice). I received advice from my wife’s parents.

The custom is to get down on oneís knees in front of the older members of the brideís family and listen to them offer advice for a good marriage. I had to listen to the advice of eight people.

Generally, the tradition in Patz˙n is to have three such pedida ceremonies, but my wife is from a distant village, so we only had one.

Tell us about the wedding.

The wedding took place in Patz˙n on a Saturday. My wife and her family left early from their village to have breakfast at my auntís house. Typically, they are served tamales and French bread.

My wifeís family arrived in Patz˙n at 6 a.m. The wedding was at 11 a.m. Two buses transported about 150 people and my familyís guests. Approximately 300 people attended.

The ladies in my family dressed Silvia in my home. She walked to church with her family, I walked with my family, and there, the two families met.

Two children carrying pillows with the wedding rings enter first. Another child carries the ìarrasî ó 13 coins the groom offers the bride after the ring ceremony so God may give them abundance and well-being. The bride and groom enter next. Two children hold up the veil.

After we were married, the best man and matron of honor put over our shoulders a cord to symbolize our union as a couple.

A private lawyer married us at Silviaís house in a civil wedding one month before the religious wedding.

What does the bride wear? The bridegroom?
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