Tag: culture

Apr 4 2013

Making eco-friendly curtains and jewelry in Honduras

Thorn and seed curtains

Braulia, a CFCA sponsored elderly woman (right), and Cristina, daughter of a sponsored aging friend, sell their curtains and jewelry by a roadside in Honduras.

A group of mothers and daughters in Honduras recently shared with us a special technique they use to craft environmentally friendly curtains and jewelry from thorns and seeds!

Check out our interview with 10-year-old Tania, a CFCA sponsored child, who describes how she helps her mother make interesting and eco-friendly designs.

I’ll never forget the day I was sponsored because it was my birthday. I was turning 6 years old.

My name is Tania, and since that day I have become part of the beautiful and loving CFCA family.

I help my mother make curtains and bracelets by opening the little holes in the seeds and stringing them together.

I like to make the bracelets, but I don’t like to make the curtains because it takes too much time, and I get bored.

CFCA sponsored child

Tania, CFCA sponsored child in Honduras, helps make designs from thorns and seeds.

I want to invite my sponsor to come to my community. I would love to meet her and teach her how to make the bracelets and necklaces.

DIY thorn and seed curtains and jewelry in 3 steps:

  1. The first step is to look for the thorns, which we call “cachitos” or bull’s horns. This is the most difficult part of the process because a large number of stinging ants live inside the thorns and sting our hands.
  2. Next we have to get seeds. We use a seed called “Lágrimas de San Pedro” or Saint Peter’s Tears. These seeds are usually brought over from another community. We try to use any kind of seeds we can find in our community. We paint the seeds so they are colorful.
  3. Once we have collected all the necessary materials, we start to make our products. First, we make holes in the seeds and thorns. Next, we create a design and use fishing or metal string to make the curtains and other kinds of jewelry.

Read the full story about mothers making eco-friendly curtains in Honduras

steps

Apr 3 2013

Helping families achieve self-sufficiency, part 3: Guatemala

CFCA sponsored friend

Floridalma and her daughters, Bridia (left), sponsored through CFCA, and Lilian (right).

By Kristin Littrell, CFCA correspondent

CFCA is not a one-size-fits-all organization. We rely on our field staffs to know the families in each community, to listen to their needs and hopes, and to provide a program that empowers them to build a path out of poverty.

In the final post in this three-part blog series, we give you a window into several CFCA communities, to gauge the success of the Hope for a Family sponsorship program.

It takes 20 minutes on the back of a motorcycle, up steep and narrow dirt roads, to get to Floridalma’s home.

She lives in Chuixilon, a small Guatemalan village, where rolling fields of strawberries are sheltered by the peaks of nearby mountains. It is beautiful and remote. The air smells like strawberries mixed with fresh pine, and only the moon and the stars light the streets at night. Read more

Apr 2 2013

7 ways to increase cultural awareness through letter writing

CFCA sponsored child

Arbie, a CFCA sponsored child in the Philippines, writes a letter to her sponsor.

When you sponsor a child or aging friend, you open the door to another culture — your new friend’s culture. By writing to their friends, sponsors deepen this connection across cultural, geographic and economic divides.

These letter-writing ideas can help you on your journey to greater cultural awareness:

  • Find some news headlines from your sponsored friend’s country.

These can make great conversation starters. As you search for headlines, pay attention to the news article’s tone as well as the information. Is it lighthearted or somber? Does it focus on institutional matters or social concerns? See who is quoted — politicians, celebrities, government officials, etc.

Practical tip for your next letter: Set aside a few minutes each day for a week to scan some headlines from your sponsored friend’s country. Mention one or two of them and ask your friend for some context. What makes this news? Is it unusual or typical of the challenges the country may be facing?

  • Watch the weather and how you react to it.

If you come from a cold climate, you’re probably used to wearing gloves, scarves and winter coats. If your sponsored friend is from a tropical country, she or he may have a hard time relating to descriptions of winter and cold. Read more

Mar 6 2013

Common boy, girl names from countries where CFCA works

El Salvador

From left are Gloria, Erika and Ana, children sponsored through CFCA in El Salvador.

You’ve probably heard the English idiom, “Every Tom, Dick and Harry,” to refer to the general population.

For many parts of the world, that wouldn’t make sense because those three names are relatively unusual.

In Madagascar, for example, the idiom might read more like, “Every Haja, Mamy and Andriniaina!”

Here are some common boy and girl names from some countries and regions where CFCA works:

El Salvador, Colombia and other Latin American countries

Names such as Juan, Jose, Ana and Maria abound in Latin American countries. Some common sources of inspiration come from close relatives, famous people, Biblical names and popular foreign names.

“Many years ago you could choose a foreign name without a problem, but nowadays you have to prove the meaning and the origin when you go to get the baby’s birth certificate in the city hall,” said Naresli Calito, a CFCA staffer in El Salvador. Read more

Feb 28 2013

Pilgrims celebrate Kumbh Mela festival in India

By Annie Vangsnes, CFCA correspondent

Pilgrims on the Sangam

Hindu pilgrims gather for this year’s Kumbh Mela festival.

Kumbh Mela in India is the largest spiritual gathering on Earth.

The celebration comes to Allahabad, home to 617 children and families in the CFCA program, every 12 years.

It is a time for Hindu pilgrims across the country and world to gather to take a dip where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet. Bathing in the waters during the festival is believed to bring Hindus holiness and salvation.

An estimated 100 million people are expected to bathe in the waters during this Kumbh Mela.

For sponsored children and their families taking part, the celebration takes much planning and preparation.

Although the festival lasts almost two months, Suman, the mother of sponsored youth Vibhor, said she prepares to have guests for the six main auspicious days. Read more

Feb 25 2013

A CFCA staffer’s trip to exotic Madagascar

Regina Mburu

Regina Mburu, our communications liaison for Africa, recently returned from a trip to Madagascar to cover the stories of sponsored friends and their families. Regina is from Kenya.

Recently I had the opportunity to visit our CFCA project in Madagascar. I was all packed up and excited at the thought of visiting this beautiful island country.

After a smooth flight, we landed in Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar. CFCA staff members were already at the airport waiting for me, and in this land miles away from my motherland, I felt at home.

Our drive to Antsirabe, which is three hours from the capital city, was a bit scary. The road was very curvy with many turns and bends. However, the beautiful landscape and tracks of rice paddies made my fear fade away. Read more

Feb 22 2013

Wisdom of the Ages: Jose, 78, from El Salvador

Jose, CFCA sponsored aging friend in El SalvadorAfter working as a day laborer planting corn, Jose had to leave his work behind because of health issues. He and his wife, Socorro, live with relatives and receive benefits through CFCA sponsorship to help them through their golden years.

How long have you been married?

My wife and I have been together for 45 years. It is amazing all the time we’ve been together.

What do you enjoy doing?

One thing I like is the [CFCA] excursions. This helps me to relax. Going out with CFCA is nice because we have everything covered. It helps me disguise the everyday burdens of life.

When did you join the CFCA Hope for a Family sponsorship program?

I became sponsored about 10 years ago. Our home is not easy to access. We live in a small village, so I am deeply thankful that CFCA enters the most remote areas; otherwise I would not have been sponsored.

If you could tell your sponsor one thing, what would it be?

I would like to tell my sponsors how much I pray for them to be well and happy. I am grateful for everything they do for me, and I am in deep gratitude for their love and respect.

What do you like about being sponsored?

I like the clothing, excursions, but most of all the food provisions. Everything is very expensive, so the benefits I get are good for me and my wife.

Do you have any advice to share?

In the world we live in, we must kneel down to praise our Lord and give thanks for everything we receive. Especially the gift of patience; this value is the one that holds me ó patience to wait for better things to come.

Feb 15 2013

A day in the life: Preparing spring onions in Guatemala

By Judy-Anne Goldman, CFCA multimedia manager/producer

Juana, the mother of two CFCA sponsored children, cleans scallions, also known as spring onions, for 8 hours a day, three days a week in a small town in Guatemala.

Preparing spring onions with CFCA in Guatemala

Does she get tired of onions after all that time? “No!” Juana said. Her appreciation only grows. “Our onions are good. People in other towns and countries come to buy them. You should try them grilled,” she suggested. “It will make your mouth water!”

Women in Guatemala prepare spring onions

From left: Lucia, Zoila, Ramos and Juana start their work day at 8 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m., peeling spring onions that are a delicious part of local meals. Lucia and Juana are mothers of CFCA sponsored children, Zoila is sponsored through CFCA, and Ramos is a former sponsored child. Read more

Feb 7 2011

Marriage traditions in Guatemala

Valentine’s Day is coming soon, and in the spirit of love, affection and marriage, we thought we’d share with you some marriage customs in Guatemala.

Henry Orlando, 24, was sponsored through Unbound from 1996 to 2008, when he graduated as an agricultural technician. He married Silvia, on Nov. 27, 2010. In this interview, Henry describes the traditions before and during his marriage ceremony.

How did you get engaged?

Silvia and I were engaged for three and a half years. Around Christmas 2009, we decided to get married.

We fixed the date for ìla pedidaî (asking the bride’s parents for her hand in marriage). Our ìpedidaî took place April 1, 2010. Usually an engagement ring is given, but I did not have the means to do so since I am attending the university.

Guatemalan bridal party

Pictures of the bridal party after the wedding service.

All my family acted as ìtortulerosî ó people who intercede for the groom during the pedida. My mother cooked a turkey, chicken and baskets of bread for my wife’s family as a sign of my commitment.

There is always a feeling of anxiety or fear during the pedida because the bride’s parents may be less than amicable or because they may not like the groom.

During the pedida a time is set aside for ìlos consejosî (advice). I received advice from my wife’s parents.

The custom is to get down on one’s knees in front of the older members of the bride’s family and listen to them offer advice for a good marriage. I had to listen to the advice of eight people.

Generally, the tradition in Patz˙n is to have three such pedida ceremonies, but my wife is from a distant village, so we only had one.

Tell us about the wedding.

The wedding took place in Patz˙n on a Saturday. My wife and her family left early from their village to have breakfast at my aunt’s house. Typically, they are served tamales and French bread.

My wife’s family arrived in Patz˙n at 6 a.m. The wedding was at 11 a.m. Two buses transported about 150 people and my family’s guests. Approximately 300 people attended.

The ladies in my family dressed Silvia in my home. She walked to church with her family, I walked with my family, and there, the two families met.

Two children carrying pillows with the wedding rings enter first. Another child carries the ìarrasî ó 13 coins the groom offers the bride after the ring ceremony so God may give them abundance and well-being. The bride and groom enter next. Two children hold up the veil.

After we were married, the best man and matron of honor put over our shoulders a cord to symbolize our union as a couple.

A private lawyer married us at Silvia’s house in a civil wedding one month before the religious wedding.

What does the bride wear? The bridegroom?

Read more

Oct 27 2010

CFCA staff from different countries visit Kansas City headquarters

Itís interesting to read what visitors on CFCA mission awareness trips have to say about the countries they visit, but what impresses people who visit the U.S.?

Last week, six accountants from Latin America projects ó four from Guatemala, one from El Salvador and one from Colombia ó visited the CFCA headquarters in Kansas to learn a new accounting system. They account for the sponsorship funds and their use in the field, then make their report back to Kansas City. We asked our guests what impressed them most during the visit.

CFCA accountants from Latin America

From left are Francisco Chavajay, Mario Gonzalez, Pedro Ibate, Alexandra Cardona Gomez, JosÈ Alfredo Julajuj and JosÈ Nery Madrid.

Hereís what they said …

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p style=”text-align:left;”>ìIt is a blessing to be here learning new ways of working, and it fills me with happiness. Definitively, looking at the culture, I see lots of organization. I also noticed much cultural diversity. I have seen people from many different countries here in Kansas.î

óPedro Ibate, Atitlan project, Guatemala

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p style=”text-align:left;”>ìThis is a very orderly country. I could see different kinds of construction that I havenít seen in my country. You donít have buses or transport trucks, like we have in Guatemala. Here, everybody has their own car. And there are lots of people on the streets, people out exercising, lots of green space. The people are very friendly.î

óJosÈ Alfredo Julajuj, Hermano Pedro project, Guatemala

Read more from the other accountants