One of the ways we are celebrating our 35th anniversary coming up on Nov. 20 is by hearing from sponsored friends and staff around the world. We asked them how Unbound has changed them, what their favorite thing about being sponsored is or what greeting they have for us at this milestone. We’re featuring 35 snapshots of our global community over the next several weeks leading up to Nov. 20, right here on the blog. Check out the first seven snapshots in the series, and stay tuned!
Agriculture, especially rice, is the main source of income for many residents of the San Mateo, Rizal, area in the Philippines. And they don’t just harvest the rice — they also have many creative, and tasty, ways to serve it up.
TThe residents of San Mateo even have a celebration dedicated to rice and the many dishes made from it. The Kakanin Festival of San Mateo is on Sept. 9 each year, and coincides with the feast day of San Mateo’s patroness, Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu.
There are more than 1,000 children, youth and elders sponsored through Unbound in the San Mateo area, and each year many participate in the Kakanin Festival parade along with their families and Unbound staff members. After winning the title of Miss Barangay this year, sponsored youth Xena Mae rode in a float as one of the contestants to go on to the Miss San Mateo pageant. Though she wasn’t crowned Miss San Mateo, she was awarded for being the most eloquent of the contestants.
Christmas is right around the corner, and soon our sponsors will be receiving Christmas cards in their mailboxes from their sponsored friends. Each year, sponsored friends send their greetings at Christmas as a special way to express their gratitude.
Christmas cards give sponsored friends like Luciana (below) a chance to share the joy of the season with their sponsors.
Many of our sponsored friends start on their Christmas cards in the summer to make sure they reach their sponsors in time.
While it might not take quite as long for you to create a card, we do recommend mailing holiday greetings by the end of October. This leaves plenty of time for the card to reach the local office that serves your sponsored friend, be translated and then hand delivered by our office staff.
Please remember that our international offices are not able to accept packages. For more information about this policy, please contact us at (800) 875-6564 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to avoid the lines at the post office? Check out our eLetter feature.
- Go to Unbound.org/eletter
- Log in to your Unbound.org account (if you’ve never logged in, it’s easy to sign up)
- Select a template, enter your message, attach a photo if you’d like and send!
- Unbound staff in your friend’s local office will print the letter and deliver it to your friend
Sending an eLetter is fast, simple and doesn’t require postage. And it’s a great way to send your friend a holiday greeting.
By Larry Livingston, senior writer/editor
My original job when I first came to Unbound involved working with the priests who travel the U.S., preaching in churches to help us find new sponsors. A few years ago I was traveling from Kansas City to Dallas to support Father Anthony Nguyen, who was preaching for Unbound for the first time that weekend. Father Anthony would fly in shortly from California, where he lived, and we would drive together to the parish we were visiting in southern Oklahoma.
As I walked around the airport waiting for Father Anthony’s flight to arrive, I was surprised to see Father Cyrus Gallagher, another Unbound preacher. He was traveling from Denver, where he lived, to a church in Washington state, and was hurrying to make his connecting flight. We greeted each other briefly and on he went.
Not two minutes later, while still thinking about the coincidence of running into an Unbound priest at the Dallas airport, who should I see but yet another of our preachers, Father Marty Holler, getting off the tram from a different terminal. Father Marty, who lives in Ohio, was traveling to preach at a church in Indianapolis.
By Gloria Yanes, project specialist in international programs at Unbound
I would like to introduce Fania Carnero, a staff member from our office in Lima, Peru.
Fania started working at Unbound in January 2002 as a secretary, and since then she has been learning and adapting to any changes and accepting the suggestions and comments from Unbound. She is now in charge of the correspondence department for the Lima office. The correspondence department handles letters to and from sponsored friends and helps answer any specific inquiries sponsors may have regarding their sponsored friends.
At 77 years old, Josefa has aches and pains, but she knows exactly how to find joy.
Maria is a calm and shy sponsored elder who loves to dance. She lives in El Salvador with her husband in an adobe home — surrounded by beautiful flowers and mango and avocado trees — with a dog, cat and even a few pet parrots. At age 80, she serves her community as a midwife and caretaker — a role she’s had for decades.
Maria joined the Unbound community in 2011, when she was sponsored by Gary from Missouri. The support from Unbound has been a great boost to her health and quality of life.
Usebio is a natural-born leader and offers up his own services to anyone who needs them.
Through his leadership, he helps others in his mountain community in Ecuador get ahead. And at 69, he’s had a lot of practice as a leader.
“I liked to lead and organize since I was little,” Usebio said. “When I was 9 years old, I started catechesis classes with the schoolchildren in my house. Also, when I was bigger, I organized young people to arrange festivals, dramas and social activities.”
His community is mostly made up of farmers, and there isn’t always enough work to go around.
“There are not many jobs here,” he said. “People collect sugar cane, guavas and grow cassava, potatoes, etc. During guavas season, people collect and sell them to people from the city. For example, we sell guavas at $1.50 per box. In a good day we can sell 10, but in a bad day we don’t even get $5.”
By John Fredy Arango, Unbound staff member in Medellin, Colombia
The Colombian government has been in conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest guerrilla movement, since the 1960s, as well as other armed groups. More than 50 years of violence has had an impact on people from all parts of the country. Unbound staff member John Fredy Arango reflects on the recent evolution of the conflict.
I was barely in my mother’s womb when the echoes of war were already shaking my body. I was born and grew up, I became a young man and I heard those sounds of war again, but this time they were stronger. I saw how they were numbing the hopes and neutralizing the dreams of those around me.