By Henry Flores, director of the communications center in El Salvador
In June, we celebrate Fatherís Day in many countries in Latin America, and it’s in these countries where millions of children don’t have access to proper education, nutrition, health and unfortunately, many of them donít even have a father.
More often than not, the typical Latin American family has only one parent at home ñ the mother. This stark reality is based on many factors, including the oppressive poverty and cultural standards.
The precarious financial situation of many families forces fathers to migrate from the rural areas into the cities or other countries. Others work away from home and return only a couple days per month, and still others simply become part of the statistics of those who donít care for their children.
In spite of this reality, there are fathers who stay to face the challenges and burdens of their life and families. They stay home with their wife and children to be together, to be a family, instilling in them values, creating awareness and helping to build a strong society by offering united families.
At CFCA, we are blessed to witness the courage of many of these men who strive every single day to be good examples of a hard-working spirit, a family leader and loving paternal figure, not only for their own children, but for other children in their communities.
I recently met Hector and his wife, Maria Esperanza. They are raising five children. Hector works in agriculture, and with the help of small loans, he works 2.5 acres of land, planting corn and beans, producing enough to sell part of it to pay his debts and keeping a little of his production for the family consumption. Hector travels by horse for almost two hours to the land he rents to grow his crops. He usually works long days, under very high temperatures and extreme humidity, starting early in the morning and returning home late at night.
Hector has a fierce love for his wife and children. He protects them and ensures that they have what they need. And, education is his first priority. ìSometimes my children help me in my plantation, but school is first, so I work alone most of the time.î
The financial situation of the family is difficult, but the dreams of this father for his children are the motivation he needs to work hard. ìThings can be difficult, I work hard. It is my hope that my children will be educated and have a better life, and I just need to work harder,î Hector said.
We praise our Lord for the gift of fatherhood, for the opportunity to be loved by a father and I thank You, my Lord, for the blessings of being a father.
The third Sunday of June marks Fatherís Day in many countries worldwide, including the United States. Today, June 17, those in El Salvador and Guatemala celebrate their fathers. We, at CFCA, would like to honor all fathers, including Henry Flores and Hector, for the courage and strength they provide to their families.