Paula Kiger is a CFCA sponsor and blogger at www.biggreenpen.com. For International Women’s Day, she sent us this blog post about her mission awareness trip to Guatemala last year.
Thirty-eight people and I participated in a mission awareness trip to Guatemala in July 2011.
On our first full day in Guatemala, we traveled to the CFCA center in San Lucas (about a two-hour drive).
On the way, we stopped in Ciudad Vieja to get acquainted with the people who are served by the CFCA office there.
The people at that office went out of their way to give us a big welcome. There were songs, dances, presentations by project participants, and lunch.
At each of the places we visited, we were given mementoes of the visit.
At Ciudad Vieja, we were given samples of the candy that many of the mothers of sponsored children have learned to make and sell to tourists. This project allows them to provide for their families and to learn a marketable skill.
We also heard from the mothers who do “ribbon embroidery,” also to be sold in Antigua, one of the main tourist destinations in Guatemala.
I identified so much with each of the mothers who spoke, in Ciudad Vieja and throughout our time in Guatemala. They want so desperately for their children to have safety, an opportunity to be educated, good nutrition and adequate shelter.
Although the moms who are my peers in the U.S. put their wants for their children in different terms, the underlying desire is exactly the same: let my child be happy and safe.
As our time in Ciudad Vieja was winding down, I decided to give my rusty college Spanish a whirl.
We did have translators with us, but with 39 participants, and so many Guatemalan families to visit with, if you wanted to have a one-on-one conversation you had to give up on getting your verbs conjugated right and just talk.
That is how I ended up approaching Ana Lucrecia, a mother and a leader at the CFCA office we were visiting.
I asked her about teaching the other mothers, about her own children, and about the work they do. She specializes in “ribbon embroidery.”
I don’t remember the specifics of the conversation except that I think she knew I was incredibly impressed at her initiative and how much she had clearly given of herself to younger mothers who needed a role model.
As our group gathered to leave, Ana Lucrecia handed me a piece of her work ñ a hand towel with detailed embroidery on it. She said, “con recuerdos,” which means “with memories.”
I was floored. I didn’t need a gift from Ana Lucrecia, but I will treasure it, and the connection I felt with her, forever.