Hortensia enjoys reading the Bible, and reads it every night before going to bed.
Horetensia lives in a small town to the west of Guatemala’s capital with her husband, Victor. At 68, she has a clear dream for her future.
“I dream of living my elder years with good health, and I dream of not having to work so hard anymore,” Horetensia said. Laughing, she added, “I no longer have the strength to work hard; it’s not that I turned lazy.”
Hortensia has been working hard all her life. She and her husband started their family in Guatemala City more than 40 years ago. He worked as an auto mechanic, and she had a small business selling tortillas. They had 10 children, though two of them passed away in infancy.
When Victor started having strokes, which made him lose the ability to walk for some time, the burden of supporting their large family fell solely on Hortensia.
Read more about Hortensia
Fred and his great-aunt, Anna, from Uganda.
“I knew without proper education, his life would turn out bleak,” Anna said of her grandnephew. “I had to do everything within my reach to help him go to school and learn.”
The 72-year-old Ugandan woman took over the care of Fred when he was just 8 months old after the untimely death of his parents. Fred’s mother was Anna’s niece, whom Anna also cared for. Growing up, Fred has always just referred to Anna as his grandmother.
Anna found herself in a position to help her extended family after the end of her 29-year marriage. Anna’s husband, a polygamist, banished her from his home because Anna did not bear him children. She moved in with her ailing brother who soon died, leaving his children and grandchildren, Fred among them, in her care.
By Henry Flores, director of the Unbound communications center in El Salvador
Henry Flores records sponsored members playing soccer in Mexico.
During a filming trip to the Dominican Republic, the director for the shooting told me, “I want to portray the sponsored members, the poor, in a way that describes who they really are. I know what the world tells me the poor are, please tell me what they are not!”
Our general conception of those living in poverty has been modeled by what we have seen or read, creating for many a preconceived image of the poor. After 20 years working with poor people and communities in many countries, I can tell you they are not what we´ve been told.
by Cara VanNice, communications director for Unbound
Our recent coverage of the violence in Kenya, the plight of girls in India and the Central American children at the U.S. border highlight a common thread that runs throughout the communities where Unbound works – urgency. We are where we are because we are needed there. Help is needed there.
By Barclay Martin, new channels coordinator
Recently, I had the privilege of sitting down with Jim and Ginger, a lovely couple who have been a part of the Quaker tradition for more than 40 years. As it so often happens, it was nothing like I thought it’d be.
By Henry Flores, director of the Unbound Communications Center in El Salvador
A friend sent me a message on Facebook, which read, “Congratulations for what you do for those most in need.”
This made me ask myself, “What do I do for the poor and what is it that they do for me?”
By Akansha Roy, CFCA communications liaison for India
CFCA members perform a traditional Indian dance for sponsors in Hyderabad, India.
Unfolding into the Indian culture brought joy to a group of sponsors.
They traveled to India on an awareness trip and became a part of their sponsored child’s everyday reality. They had a bright smile at the end of each day.
Sponsors explored the lifestyle, cuisine and hospitality of India, and gave CFCA staff and families a chance to present their talents and introduce the sponsors to the best of their reality.
By Veronica Batton, CFCA writer/editor
I found my old passport the other day while cleaning my kitchen. I have no idea why I chose the kitchen to store this important document, but that’s a story for another time.
When I found my passport, I realized I was coming up on my one-year anniversary of my CFCA awareness trip to India.
I still remember that trip vividly. The bright colors of pinks, blues and golds woven into the women’s saris; the lovely smell of incense; the happy smiles on the faces of CFCA friends and families; discovering delicious foods; and also witnessing the extreme poverty, which impacts much of the country.
When I came back, I promised myself that I would do my best to always be grateful for all the blessings in my life.
I remember a time over the summer when I was having a rough day; I was becoming more and more frustrated with whatever was bothering me. (I was probably mad at my flat iron.)
I made a conscious decision to stop and reflect on the things I was grateful for, and my frustration started to melt away.
Working as a writer/editor at CFCA I learn so much about the sponsored friends and their families ó I learn about their love for life, their strength and their daily realities.
The everyday necessities and comforts in life I sometimes take for granted are not easily accessible for families living in poverty. Here are some examples: Read more
By Elizabeth Alex, CFCA community outreach and media relations director
The voice of powerless women in India has been heard.
It’s tragic that it took the rape, torture and agonizing death of a promising young physiology student to bring that voice to the world.
“I am heartbroken about the news of this young woman,” said Paul Pearce, CFCA director of global strategy. “She was heroic to hold her head up high and go to school. I hear she had big dreams of building a hospital back in her village.”
CFCA has more than 35,000 sponsored children and aging friends in India. We also support a home for boys from the streets in Delhi, the city where the young woman was attacked.
Our staff and families understand how the simple act of boarding a bus can become a deadly decision; women and the poor are vulnerable and become targets just by reaching for their dreams.
“The heroic journey on the path out of poverty can be a daunting and even lonely task,” Pearce said. “Many in the communities where we work live in a state of isolation.”
We are learning that most of the five young men, who are charged with luring the 23-year-old woman and her friend onto a bus with the promise of a ride, came from a slum neighborhood. They have no jobs, and are unable to hire an attorney to represent them.
CFCA works in India and 21 other countries to end this violent cycle with a model that focuses on the individual and his or her needs while building safe and responsible communities. Read more
Every Wednesday during the Advent/Christmas season, we will post a reflection in hopes that it may help you on your own journey. This week’s reflection is offered by Larry Livingston, CFCA director of church relations.
“They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.” (Matthew 2:10)
One of the few things we are told about the mysterious group of visitors called the Magi is that they saw, in the ascension of a star, the sign of a new king.
According to the story of the Epiphany in Matthew’s Gospel, that star led them to the Christ-child, but the details of their amazing journey remain a mystery.
Perhaps that lack of detail is one reason why the story of the Magi has so captured the imaginations of Christians throughout the centuries. Each of us must answer for ourselves why we think these travelers followed the star. And, in so doing, we are invited to reflect on the ‘stars’ that we ourselves follow.
Our stars come in a variety of forms and, like the literal stars in the heavens, they can both illuminate and consume.
Some people follow stars of greed and selfishness while others are guided by stars of compassion and generosity.
Whatever values form the trajectory of a person’s life, there can be found that person’s star. read the rest of the reflection