Juan Danilo and his mom, Lourdes, in Mexico.
Jul 22 2016

Humor and generosity in adversity

Juan Danilo and his mom, Lourdes, in Mexico.

Juan Danilo and his mom, Lourdes, in Mexico.

By Loretta Shea Kline, managing editor for Unbound

I count the times I’ve been able to visit the homes of children and elders as the greatest privilege of my work as a writer and editor with Unbound. One child and mom I met on a trip to Mexico inspired me with their gracious spirit.

Earlier this year, I had the chance to visit families in our program in Merida, Mexico, when I accompanied an Unbound awareness trip for bloggers interested in our work. It’s always a special time when I travel and have the opportunity to listen to and learn from the families.

One story from the trip stood out because it’s about what it means to persevere in difficult moments and be generous at the same time. The child and his mother at the center of the story were waiting for a sponsor so the family could receive benefits through the Unbound program. The child has since been sponsored.

Juan Danilo is a 9-year-old with a sense of humor advanced for his age. When kids at school asked him about his future sponsor, he offered this witty reply:

“I know he’s from the USA,” Juan Danilo said. “Maybe he’s [President Barack] Obama, and he hasn’t found me yet. It’s because he’s still president.”

That story was relayed by Juan Danilo’s mother, Lourdes. Like her son, Lourdes looked forward to the day when a sponsor would step forward and the family could receive sponsorship benefits. Nick from Missouri recently sponsored Juan Danilo, which will ease the family’s financial burden, especially by helping with school costs.

The family experienced hard times last year, Lourdes said, when her husband fell, broke both wrists and couldn’t work. At the time of our interview he was working again, but he was still recovering and limited in what he could do as a laborer.

One of the practices of Unbound mothers groups in Lourdes’ community is to invite families who are waiting for a sponsor to participate in program activities, even before they start receiving sponsorship benefits. Though Lourdes’ family was going through an especially tough time, she embraced being part of the mothers group. She said the workshops on a variety of issues facing families in her community motivated her, along with the encouragement she got from other mothers in the program.

“It has kept me motivated … to never give up on anything,” Lourdes said.

She said she also learned that “you have that strength but you only find it when you are in the worst situation.”

Lourdes loves being part of a group of people with positive attitudes and a willingness to learn, and who support each other. She has special skills in sewing and embroidery that she’s used to earn some much-needed extra income, and she has taught those skills to other moms in the Unbound program.

Lourdes relied on the generosity of others when her husband was in the hospital and recovering. Now it was her turn to give back.
“We never stop learning in life,” Lourdes said. “I want to help other mothers because I was helped by them in the past. I want to do the same for them.”

Juan Danilo’s Unbound family profile, which was filled out by the local staff, says he is “friendly and likes to help others. He loves animals and wants to become a veterinarian. … At school, Danilo most likes to study math, science and Spanish. He enjoys drawing, painting and playing the drums.”

While Juan Danilo’s sponsor might not be a president, he’s surely just as important in the eyes of the family.

Nick’s sponsorship will help Juan Danilo pursue his educational dream and help his family provide the support he’ll need.

Help a child achieve a dream. Sponsor today.

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