Jose Rodriguez, CFCA’s project director for South America, talks about his recent visit to Bolivia where he witnessed the work being done by two CFCA scholarship students, Juan and Jhaneth. The students are helping to give back to their own communities by working with families to build greenhouses and teaching local mothers to read.
By Rev. Kelly Demo, CFCA preacher
Upon my return from a mission awareness trip to El Salvador, my children were greatly interested in the details of the trip. I told them about our day spent on a volcano, showed them a jar of sand from the beach and pictures of all the beautiful people I met. And, I kept wistfully talking about pupusas, calling them ìSalvadoran comfort food.î
We decided to make pupusas, and we had the most fun! They are so simple to make and so wonderful to eat. The best part, however, was how making dinner together easily fell into a lesson about solidarity. For instance: at first, our dough was too dry. As I went to the sink for more water, I started talking about how hard it often is for the women to get water and how easy it is for us. The kids asked questions about where the water comes from for the Salvadorans and began to understand how a simple faucet is a luxury.
As we pulled the cheese from the refrigerator, my daughter asked me how they keep things cold with no electricity. So, we talked about how they have to go to market every day to buy food since people in developing countries generally donít have a refrigerator. (My kids hate going to the grocery store, so the idea of going to market every day really hit home!)
Below is the recipe for pupusas (they are super easy for kids to make), but we encourage you to do a little research to find kid-friendly recipes from the country where your sponsored friend lives. As you cook with your children or grandchildren, talk with them about what it must be like for their friend to cook. How is it the same? How is it different? Tell them what an indescribable luxury meat is in most countries, but how easily we have access to it here. Have them picture walking up to a mile to fetch water for cooking (this is often the job of children in a family).
(Please supervise children closely during the cooking.)
2 c. Masa harina (this is a corn flour that can be found in most grocery stores)
1 c. Water
Filling can be grated cheese, refried beans, veggies, whatever!
1. In a bowl mix the Masa harina and water. Knead it well. If you need to, add a teaspoon of water at a time to get a consistency similar to play dough. Set the dough aside to rest for 10 minutes.
2. Roll a ball of dough a little smaller than the size of a baseball and, with your thumb, press a hole in the middle. Pinch the sides a bit to make the hole bigger. Put some of the filling in the hole and pinch it shut. Now comes the fun part. Slap the dough from hand to hand, pressing it out flat. But make sure none of the filling leaks out. They should end up about º – Ω inch thick.
3. Heat an ungreased skillet over medium heat. Cook each pupusa for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown on each side. Serve with salsa.
Sponsor Margaret Looper was recruited to help distribute bags of food to CFCA families one day during her mission awareness trip to Bolivia. She was surprised by how important a simple bag of groceries is to families in need.
A CFCA mission awareness trip is an uplifting experience that will deepen your connection with your sponsored friend and open your eyes to the potential of sponsored members and their families. Spaces are still available on some 2009 trips. Check our trip calendar >
By Peter Ndungo, Nairobi project coordinator
Grace, 67, is all smiles. She is happy because she has acquired a new set of dentures. She acquired them in August 2008, thanks to CFCA.
Grace has never put so much value to her teeth as she is doing right now. She does not have a history of dental ailments. Her problem has been brought about by age, she says. She started losing her teeth in her 50s. She never thought that teeth would stand in her way of good health until May 2008, when she lost her remaining teeth.
With her new set of teeth, she is now able to chew foods such as githeri (boiled maize and beans), arrowroot, meat, ugali (porridge made with maize flour), chapati and mandazi (baked wheat flour products). She can also chew sugarcane and fruits such as mangoes and oranges.
Her doctor suggested a gradual introduction to such food, and she can now comfortably eat every meal she pleases. Her speech has also improved tremendously, and she canít stop herself from smiling.
Soaring food prices in 2008 made it more difficult for CFCA families to feed themselves. Though prices have fallen some, a recent United Nations report predicts that the cost of food will remain high in the long run. To improve long-term food security, CFCA has awarded several food grants to help families grow and produce their own food.
John and I began sponsoring a child in 1998. We were pregnant with our first child and felt so blessed. We heard about CFCA through our parish. During Mass while a CFCA representative was talking about the sponsorship opportunities, my husband left our pew. I thought he was going to the restroom.
|Angelica is our sponsored child from Guatemala. She was 4 when we began sponsoring her.|
When he came back to our pew, he had our little Angelica Antonia’s profile. He just knew that I wanted to sponsor a child and he did as well.
He said, “Angelica called out to me.”
Her mother and father took turns sending us letters about Angelica, their life and how thankful they were for our support until Angelica was old enough to write. So, through letters and photos we’ve received, we’ve seen Angelica grow up through her parents’ and now her words.
Angelica is in seventh grade. She draws us beautiful flower borders with every note. She’s quite an artist! Angelica is growing up a confident, educated young woman. She walks an hour to/from school every day – amazing! She is so grateful for the opportunity to go to school (which is a great reminder for our kids) and in every letter reminds us how very thankful she is that our support covers her basic needs.
By sponsoring Angelica, we get so much more out of the relationship than we ever dreamed was possible! She is a constant reminder of how blessed we are, that the basic things we take for granted (shelter, food, clothing) are truly gifts from God. Angelica doesn’t know this, but her words and prayers are far more valuable to our family than the monthly donations.
CFCA’s sponsorship program helps our family see that poverty is a worldwide problem that affects each of us in some way and even more so, how each individual can help end it.