While in the hospital recovering from surgery on her hand, 45-year-old Mirna decided she could do more with her inherent potential.
She took inspiration from her favorite book, “The Pursuit of Excellence” by Ted W. Engstrom. The book follows an eagle raised with the mentality that it couldn’t fly, until one day it sees other birds flying.
“I think I’m like that eagle,” Mirna said. “During so many years I thought I wasn’t able to do many things, until one day I decided to leave all that behind and decided to pursue my dreams and [support] my family.”
And that’s exactly what she did.
In August 2014, Mirna joined with the women in her Unbound mothers group in Honduras and began to make and sell pinole. Pinole is a unique type of toasted cornmeal that in Honduras is commonly consumed in a hot beverage made primarily of ground corn and spices like cocoa and cinnamon. The group offers multiple flavors of pinole, including one with coffee.
Mirna’s group, “Alianza para el Futuro” (Alliance for the Future), comprises 21 mothers and one father. The members came up with the idea to cook pinole with the help and encouragement of the Unbound social worker assigned to the group.
“In every meeting we have, we always hear about the ‘Hope for a Family’ characteristics,” Mirna said. “The social worker motivated us, and that’s how the idea came. We said, ‘Why not produce pinole?’ That’s how we started working, and are motivated in every moment to achieve our goals.”
The Hope for a Family characteristics, now known as the Unbound program characteristics, are characteristics that Unbound aims to achieve in partnership with families in the communities we serve. They include economic self-sufficiency and capacity building, among others.
Mirna’s group has a goal to buy its own mill so that the members can grind more of the ingredients themselves. This will help cut production costs and hopefully allow them to one day sell their products in supermarkets.
Nancy Licona, an Unbound staff member in Honduras, sees the positive effects of the group.
“The mothers group … is an example of perseverance and dreaming,” Nancy said. “Most of the mothers in this group are single mothers. They work at home and, thanks to this opportunity, they have the chance to move forward with their families.”
The group members depend on each other often because the process to make pinole is not an easy one. After buying the ingredients from the market, each ingredient must be cleaned and roasted. Then the ingredients cool and are ground in a small hand grinder before being mixed with spices.
Each member of the group has a different role in the process. Some women buy ingredients or cook, while others help pack and label the finished products. At the end, the father in the group prices the products.
Working with other mothers in the community allows Mirna to learn from and share experiences with the people around her.
“It’s like our space where we can be ourselves without limitations and where we can find support,” Mirna said.
Mirna joined Unbound 19 years ago when one of her daughters was sponsored. Mirna says her life has changed radically changed thanks to the program.
“Sometimes I compare myself [to my former self], and I don’t recognize who I was before,” Mirna said. “I’m so different now. I’m happy.”
Mirna now also represents her 74-year-old father, Raul, in the sponsorship program. Raul is sponsored through Unbound by James and Marie from Missouri. Growing up, Mirna never knew her father, and only met him a few years ago.
“He needed his family,” Mirna said. “… He felt very happy to know that he had a sponsor. He said it was a blessing from God.
“[When] Unbound came to our families, it wasn’t a coincidence. God has a purpose in our life and it’s on us if we want to achieve our goals. … I know we are all going through difficult times but we need to stay together and never lose focus. We need to think of our future and fight.”
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