Mar 21 2013

Family inspires CFCA staff member on awareness trip

Family in Costa Rica

Uriel, and Abdelino with their mother, Hilda, and father, Danilo.

By Leslie Hernandez, CFCA Sponsor Services

Leslie Hernandez works for CFCA as a bilingual communications liaison in Sponsor Services. Read Leslie’s story of hope as she helped a family in Costa Rica realize their dream of building a dignified home.

I participated in a Costa Rica awareness trip last July with CFCA, and the experience changed my life.

I met Abdelino and Uriel, two brothers sponsored through CFCA, and fell in love with their family.

This family lives in poverty and struggles against great odds, yet they are happy and humble people.

Abdelino and Uriel live with their mother, Hilda, and father, Danilo, in a remote village east of the capital, San Jose.

Residents in this region have little or no access to potable water, electricity or paved roads.

The main source of employment in this area is a banana plantation that only offers seasonal jobs. In Limon, bananas and plantain are one of the region’s top sources of income. However, the banana plantation only offers seasonal employment that is never promised and provides a very low pay.


Leslie, center, with two CFCA staffers in Costa Rica.

The family faces many challenges because both Abdelino and Uriel are blind and have other special needs.

Hilda, their mother, is paralyzed on the right side of her body. Their father, Danilo, is the caretaker of the family.

The Hope for a Family sponsorship program provides the family with health, educational and nutritional benefits to help the family meet their daily needs.

The family lives in a home with no running water. Their home is an open space with dirt floors.

When I was there I spoke to Danilo. He mentioned that the family owned a piece of land nearby, and that one day he hoped to be able to construct a dignified home there.

He also mentioned that he had a hard time finding work because Abdelino, Uriel and Hilda could not care for themselves while he was away and would go the entire day without eating.


The family will soon move from this home to a safer and more dignified space.

It was devastating for me to hear about that dilemma. I cannot imagine having to make that decision if I were in his shoes.
Regardless of all of the obstacles the family must overcome on a daily basis, they could not have been more loving. It was admirable to see how proud the father was of his family.

Days after returning from my trip, I found myself constantly thinking about the family.

I was so grateful for the lesson that I learned. I had a newfound appreciation for all of the blessings that I have in life.

I wanted to help the family have what they dreamed about ó a dignified home. I decided to raise funds to help them build their new home.

The CFCA staff in Costa Rica worked to obtain a detailed budget for materials and labor costs.

I began raising the money by selling baked goods and homemade tamales, and I organized a few garage sales.

I am overjoyed to say that I exceeded my goal of $2,400 and raised $2,580!

land in Costa Rica

Land where the family’s new home will be built.

Construction for the home is already in progress, and with the additional $180, Hilda will be able to purchase the wheelchair that she needs to comfortably get around on her own.

The family has given me so much. They really made a strong impact on my life. I think about them every day.

I even tell my son about them and what they did for me. I want to instill good values in him so that he can follow in my footsteps and help others in the future.

I have learned to treasure the things I have in life. We tend to get overwhelmed with little things easily. It is hard to appreciate what you have when you have had it so easy for as long as you can remember.

Even when things seem dreadful, there are people out there in the world who are in a worse position.

My experience was invaluable. I am eager to save enough to return and revisit the family that changed my life and be able to see the finished home.

11 thoughts on “Family inspires CFCA staff member on awareness trip”

  1. What a wonderful story! If we had as much press about generous events like this as we do about bombings and crimes, the world would be a better place for all of us. God Bless you and CFCA for all the good you do!

  2. Thank you, Jennifer. How amazing was the trip? I am glad that you enjoyed it as much as I did. The staff there really is amazing. I am fortunate enough to continue to communicate with the Costa Rica staff here at CFCA. Their work never ends, but they always go the extra mile. Thank you for your kind words!

  3. Kudos, Leslie, from a fellow participant in the 2012 Costa Rica mission awareness trip. What an admirable feat you’ve accomplished. I was quite impressed with all the CFCA staff, both from Kansas City and in Costa Rica. This article is proof of the dedication you all demonstrate. May our paths cross again soon.

  4. Well done, Leslie, and the CFCA staffers who work with this sponsored family in Costa Rica. Your dedication is so central to the work of CFCA. This story is heartfelt and I will think about it whenever I see the television ads urging Americans to visit Costa Rica for a luxurious vacation. How much more beautiful was your journey! Thank you for your loving kindness to this family,

    1. Thank you, Carolyn. My trip really was incredible. I would choose to do it all over again over a vacation any day! Thank you for your kind words.

  5. God bless you for what you did for this special family. I too was impacted after a Kenya mission awareness trip. I pray I will turn my experience into something positive as you did. Nadine

  6. Excellent article Leslie! Thank you for sharing this and for your work on behalf of the sponsored members and their families!

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