Francisco has been sponsored by the Adloff family for 15 years. He shares his story of how, through their support, he was able to overcome his familyís poverty, obtain an education, and become a leader in his community.
My dad has always worked in agriculture, and my mother has always taken care of the house. I have 11 siblings: six brothers and five sisters. The youngest one is 13 and is also sponsored by CFCA. My brother Jaime and I are the only ones who made it into university. The rest of my siblings have moved on with their lives. Some work in agriculture, some are housewives and some work in construction.
Raising so many children was difficult for my parents and us. We had to sleep in pairs in one bed. Siblings donít always get along: I remember getting in pretty good fights with them, but at the same time, it is great growing up with many siblings. The older siblings help the little ones and many times you are more confident with them than with your own parents.
I remember I was in third grade when the local priest and the local catechist came into the classroom and called up all of the children. We were few because, at that moment, few families had returned to resettle the town after the civil war (read about the history of Cinquera ). We were told about the possibility of this sponsorship program. They took our pictures. One year later, we were called to the first meeting and started to receive our first benefits.
One of the most difficult things for me was when I finished junior high. We had no high school in the area so I had to travel to the closest town. My parents could not pay the whole cost, but it was then when the CFCA staff determined that we could use our benefits to cover as much as possible the costs of our education.
I was 14 when I finished ninth grade. For high school, I had to travel 11 kilometers on a dirt and rock road to Tejutepeque, probably about two hours on foot. Transportation service is very limited. Back in those days, we only had three buses the whole day. We had no problem early in the morning because we used to leave town around 6 a.m. But getting back to Cinquera was always a challenge. Many times we could not catch the bus. We had to walk, despite rain and hunger — all we had to eat during the day was some fruit or bread.
In twelfth grade, we had to bring a typewriter to class. I did not have one. There was a handcraft and painting shop at which I became an artisan. We used to sell those products to tourists or vendors. I made some money and bought my typewriter. The machine is in very good condition because I took such a good care of it. I didnít even want to lay it on the floor. I took care of it because I paid for it.
I finished high school in 2003. The idea for most of the young people at that time was to find a job. Most go to the U.S. to work to help their families. I decided to study computer engineering. But the costs became more expensive. The municipality helped us by providing transportation. They transported us in the city trash truck, but we were happy for the opportunity.
There were times when classmates tried to humiliate me because I was poor and came from a small town and for wearing the same clothes over and over. Of course, we did not have enough to buy new clothes so we always used the same ones.
The teachers started to pay attention to me because I always tried to be good in class, especially in math. My grades were high, too. They selected me to be a math instructor for some classes. They eliminated my monthly tuition, and I had full access to the libraries, computers, Internet. Last year, I graduated as a computer engineer from the National University.
I am currently working at the Reconstruction and Rural Development Association. I am a computer teacher at the small computer lab they have created where local residents come and learn. I get a small salary for this.
My dreams for the future are to give back to my community; to work for the development of Cinquera. I have received a scholarship for a masterís degree in engineering, and I am planning on doing it. Just like the community helped me, I want to help it. Mine is not a dream in which I make money. It is a dream in which my community is well. I also want to form a family, work hard and provide for them.
The story of my sponsors and me is one that canít be forgotten. Their sponsorship is like a family relationship. They have seen me grow. We have exchanged letters almost every month, and they have always been caring to me.
They are Mary and Bob Adloff, and their daughters, Kara and Dayna. They have been able to know me through letters, and I have been able to know them. I know about their daughtersí education, as well as Bobís and Maryís occupations. They always kept me informed in their letters. They sent me photos. I know my sponsors are a very united family. They will always be in my heart.
I remember them telling me how much they enjoyed the drawings I used to make in my letters, and later they told me that my drawings were framed. They sent me pictures showing that.
Their help was invaluable. The benefits I have received from them have been very good: food, celebrations, shoes. As a matter of fact, the shoes I received from CFCA have been the ones I have used all the time. I donít recall ever buying new shoes. The ones I am wearing right now I received from CFCA. We have used the benefits very well. They have been of great help for me and my family.
If I had my sponsors Bob and Mary in front of me, I would tell them, ìThank you.î I would hug them because I feel we have been giving each other hugs in our letters. I would tell them as much about me as I could, and I would tell them that God will bless them just as much as they have been blessing me.
You can learn more about Francisco and his sponsors on our website.