It’s 3 a.m. in northwestern Nicaragua, with sunrise still more than two hours away, and sisters Susana and Jazmin are already waking up. Together they grind corn they prepared the night before into flour. Their mother, Maria, starts a fire in their wood-burning stove. Then, while Jazmin showers and prepares for school, Susana helps Maria make tortillas.
If home is where the heart is, Beneranda’s home has always been the small patch of Nicaraguan farmland she inherited from her father. But for most of her adult life, it was a home without a house.
Rosa gave birth to Jose at her home in Guatemala. When he was just 2 weeks old, she realized something was wrong.
“His skin seemed fragile and it did not look normal,” she said. “It looked like nylon skin. … We decided to take him to see a doctor. They said he was born with this dry skin illness named ichthyosis.”
Flor starts her day at 4 a.m. She wakes up, brushes her teeth and then grinds corn so her grandmother can make and sell tortillas. She then works as a nanny from 6 until around noon. After that she tries to spend some time with her family before she heads out again for her night classes from 6 until around 10. After class, she takes the bus home and gets ready for bed.
“That’s my daily routine,” she said. “That’s how my beautiful days are.”
The city of Estelí, Nicaragua, is a troubled one. Many families served by Unbound live in one of its neighborhoods that is unsafe and run-down.
The neighborhood is underdeveloped. Its dirt roads run with raw sewage. A majority of the sponsored children attend a school on the main road in the neighborhood, an area that has a lot of garbage strewn about.
But the community is trying to make small steps forward, and Unbound is helping residents work toward creating a safer and cleaner neighborhood.
On a good day, Elizabeth earns $3.78 selling pastries she makes in the home she shares with 12 other family members.
That’s a good day. Sometimes, she makes less.
Julia learned the art of making bread from her mother-in-law. It’s a family tradition that has long been part of her husband’s family, and Julia is happy to keep it going. But for this Honduran family, baking bread isn’t just about keeping a tradition alive. It’s about moving the family forward in life.
Jorge’s favorite spot is the hammock on his front porch.
“I spend the afternoon right here,” he said. “I read the Bible — I stay here until about 8 at night. We eat something, and we go to bed.”
Jorge is 68 years old and lives in Guatemala. Those relaxing afternoons in the hammock are much needed after his long mornings selling clothes in the marketplace.
Jorge and his wife, Reyna, wake up at 5 a.m. every day and try to sell clothes to provide for their daily needs. They may earn $4 or $5 on a good day, but many times they can’t sell anything, leaving them with no money for food or transportation home from the market.
By Luis Cocón, Unbound’s communications liaison in Guatemala
“They should have never been born.”
“It’s the mothers’ fault that our country is the way it is — so underdeveloped.”
“She doesn’t understand that giving birth to one child after another only multiplies poverty. Now there is yet another digit in malnourished children statistics.”
Typical comments from some of the very powerful in my country.