By Victoria Brown, social media coordinator
Unbound’s first blogger trip has been a life-changing experience for me. It’s opened my eyes to the realities of people living in poverty.
I never imagined I would be on a roller coaster of so many emotions this week: love, sadness, amazement, nervousness, happiness, serenity, excitement, appreciation and more.
I have seen firsthand the huge impact one sponsor can make in another person’s life. My hope is that others see this impact and decide to become the difference in someone’s life through sponsorship.
I’ve asked the writers on this trip to share their thoughts from this week’s adventure.
Ali Ebright from Gimme Some Oven
It has been such a gift to be able to spend this time in El Salvador with Unbound. And even more, to have the opportunity to learn from the good people of this country. Without a doubt, the conditions of those living in poverty here are complex, challenging, and heartbreaking. But without a doubt, incredible changes are also happening throughout the country — with credit to the hard-working and hopeful people of El Salvador, and also thanks to the incredible work of Unbound. Children are gaining access to education, mothers are being empowered, new businesses are being supported, health is being improved, and it is no exaggeration to say that lives are being dramatically changed for the better — step by step, person by person, story by story. It was inspiring to see with my own eyes, and makes me all the more committed to partnering with Unbound to hopefully help be a part of this very important time in the history of El Salvador. The people there need us, and we need them, so I hope that more will join in together to be a part of this life-changing story.
Rachel Balducci from Testosterhome
This trip to El Salvador has opened my eyes to the wonders of the world and to the power of people working together. A little effort on our part goes a long way for the people in developing countries. I’m so humbled and honored to be able to witness the beautiful gift of Unbound sponsorship in action.
Paula Kiger from Big Green Pen
I am beyond grateful for the two opportunities I have had to meet people who are impacted by the work of Unbound, first on an Awareness Trip to Guatemala in 2011 and now as part of the first Unbound Blogger Trip. Both times it has felt like such a privilege and dispensation of good fortune to see the sponsor experience three-dimensionally, beyond the one-dimensional pictures we receive of our sponsored children. These children (and aging) have families, dreams, homes, pastimes, school/work, challenges, joys, and sorrows just like the rest of us. In so many instances this week when sponsored individuals have been providing their testimonies, they prefaced their comments with “gracias a Dios” (thanks to God). After this week, my thanks for this experience is unfettered. I am grateful, and look forward to helping others back in the U.S. understand the totality of the Unbound experience through my eyes.
Marty Denzer, reporter for The Catholic Key newspaper
Despite challenges including poverty, little or no education, housing that was jerry-built out of materials like tin, tree branches and old pieces of wood, or living 13 or 14 in one dwelling, dirt and rock or a concrete floor, there was an amazing joy in their hearts and souls. Their reliance on God and their willingness to work to support and care for their children simply made me say, “Wow!”
I learned that what Unbound does through its sponsors, its education, recreation, responsibility, health and financial assistance that also teaches financial responsibility, all offered with genuine love and respect for each individual, engenders hope, for the individuals, for their families and for future generations. The folks I talked with made me smile, laugh, and cry. You can see the hope shining in their eyes. It’s impossible to leave without wanting to gather them in and hug them, for allowing me to see a little bit of their lives and dreams.