CFCA sponsored elderly share life experiences and offer wise advice.
Mercedes is a 75-year-old widow in La Paz, Bolivia. She has eight children, 23 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
She lives in a small cinder-block home with her daughter and three granddaughters. Her kitchen doubles as a bedroom, where all five members of the family sleep on two beds.
Mercedes used to work in a factory making Alpaca fiber sweaters. She now works as a kitchen assistant at a catering business, serving at parties and large meetings.
“Thanks to CFCA I no longer feel oppressed,” Mercedes said. “I know I can overcome. I have learned that it is never too late.”
The sponsorship benefits she receives help her buy food, clothing and medicine, in addition to the immeasurable benefits of friendship and love.
1. What is your secret for a long life?
My secret for a long life is to eat healthy.
Do not smoke or drink alcoholic beverages or take any kind of drug.
The youth today don’t have the same moral values as before. I worry about my granddaughters very much.
2. What’s one thing that has changed from when you were young?
The weather seems to have changed.
Before, each season would arrive at its natural given time; today, one can feel all four seasons in the same day!
3. What is your favorite food?
I love eating “Falso Conejo.” It is a dish of beef with crushed bread seasoned with a sauce made of garlic, onion and hot sauce, rice and potato.
My children make it for me on my birthday.
4. What are your favorite pastimes and hobbies?
I very much like weaving and cooking.
It calms me down to weave sweaters and ponchos.
I also have a strong feeling for cooking and baking.
It has become hard for me to weave because I feel that my eyes get tired easily.
5. Are you married or single?
I have been a widow for 18 years.
My husband, Eduardo, was an electrician.
He was on the roof of a home when he suffered from an electrical shock. He fell and hit his head, dying instantly.
I suffered very much after his death because I was left alone.
[The funeral was expensive] and my eight children suffered very much.
Poverty knocked at my door every day.
6. If you could take a trip anywhere, where would you go?
I wish I could visit the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia.
That is where my husband’s relatives live.
I would not live there because I would get sick from not seeing my granddaughters.
7. Tell me something unique about yourself?
I have always been a hard-working woman.
8. What do you like the most about CFCA?
I love the way that we get treated.
Mrs. Charito, a local CFCA staffer, is so patient with us.
She is always giving us advice.