Children sponsored through Unbound take part in a letter-writing activity in Guatemala.
By Veronica Batton, writer/editor
It’s around 9 a.m. when Edwin Cocon, a social worker for Unbound in Guatemala, walks into a large room with cinderblock walls and a round tin roof. Wooden tables covered in plastic tablecloths line the walls, and plastic lawn chairs are haphazardly arranged around them.
Cocon begins to straighten the chairs when more than 100 sponsored children, with big smiles and eyes that suggest an eagerness for the day’s activity, flood into the room.
It’s letter-writing day, and there will be several more to come. In a period of 11 days, more than 2,000 sponsored friends will visit this room and compose letters to their sponsors.
Each year we share hundreds of photos from our staff members around the world. A window into another person’s life, each photo tells a unique story.
We shared a ton of amazing photos in 2014. Here are 14 of our favorites.
Click here to see our favorite photos!
A lawn visited by the Woodmont youth group’s “flocking flamingos.”
You wake up one morning, and as you’re going about your normal routine you glance out at your front lawn. But it looks a bit different than usual. Somehow, a flock of plastic flamingos has made its way to your lawn.
Over the last few months, members of the Woodmont Christian Church in Tennessee have experienced “flockings” courtesy of their youth group. It’s not a prank but one of the fundraising strategies the youth group developed for their “Guats Up” initiative.
Their goal? To build a house in Guatemala for a family that needs one.
Doña Jesus started raising turkeys about seven years ago to help support her family. It was right around the time her son Diego was sponsored through Unbound. When all of her turkeys got sick and died, she received lots of encouragement from the Unbound staff not to give up. She also got seven turkeys from Unbound to help her restart her business.
To say thank you for all the support and encouragement her family has received, Doña Jesus shared her recipe for turkey stew, which she makes for her family every Christmas.
Get Doña Jesus’ recipe
A Guatemalan cemetery decorated on Day of the Dead.
Guatemalans celebrate Day of the Dead on Nov. 1 and 2, coinciding with All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The celebrations are a way to remember loved ones who have passed away.
“We celebrate with a mixture of traditions from the Maya and the Spaniards,” said Norma, whose son, Rodvin, is sponsored through Unbound in Guatemala. “My mother showed me to offer fruits, food, flowers and any other things that our deceased liked when alive. We believe that they visit us on this day to share the offerings that we prepare for them. We also believe in prayers as a way of talking with them and asking God for their eternal rest.”
Selvin holds up a handful of cocoa beans.
Margarita (left) helps lift a roaster full of cocoa beans off the fire.
Happy (almost) Chocolate Day! Tomorrow, Oct. 28, is National Chocolate Day. To celebrate, we’re sharing the story of Margarita in Guatemala. Chocolate is an important part of Margarita’s life. And not just hers, but her community’s as well.
“[Chocolate is] the way that I earn for my family’s food expenses and my children’s school expenses,” Margarita said. “When customers place an order, I know how much I will earn for my children. …”
Chocolate is also important for others in my community because sometimes I need help and I give them work. I ask for their help to peel and roast cocoa beans. It takes about 10 people to peel 100 pounds of cocoa beans in one or two days.”
Continue reading Margarita’s story
Ten-year-old Maria from Guatemala.
By Elizabeth Alex, community outreach and media relations director for Unbound
“My name is Maria and my favorite thing in life is going to school.”
The simple, straightforward statement from a third grader in Guatemala represents the dream of children in the developing world.
Maria lives in a small house in a rural area of Guatemala. Her father is sick and hasn’t been able to work. Her family survives because of the kindness of neighbors, friends and their church. On most days, meals consist of salted tortillas and water.
Like many kids who live in poverty, Maria is lacking in nutrition. But she has plenty of energy for life.
Read more about Maria
By Jordan Kimbrell, writer/editor for Unbound
Unbound works with families from many different cultures and traditions. Inspired by New York Fashion Week, we want to explore the different fashions that are found within those cultures. Today we’re sharing photos depicting the many different fashions found in Unbound communities.
View the photos
Josefa and her parents are proud of their cultural heritage.
By Jordan Kimbrell, writer/editor for Unbound
Unbound works with families from many different cultures and traditions. Inspired by New York Fashion Week, we want to explore the different fashions that are found within those cultures. Today we’re sharing an interview with Josefa and her parents from the Santiago Atitlan area in Guatemala.
Luis Cocon visits a home in El Salvador.
Guatemalan farms like this one are affected by the ongoing drought.
By Luis Cocon, communications liaison for Unbound in Guatemala
The other day while waiting for the bus I saw a little girl about the age of 6 crying. Her cry sounded desperate. Her cry troubled some people. Others just ignored it.
“She is thirsty,” her mother said, as a young woman on an old bicycle stopped and gave the little girl some soda. After a couple of sips a smile appeared on the girl’s face.
Her cry for water reminded me that it is essential for life. I thought of places where people die of hunger and thirst. Not in some faraway country, but right here in my own country of Guatemala.