Maria smiles while visiting with a guest. Though nearly deaf and blind, she is filled with joy in life.
Aging is in part a process of letting go. Abilities once relied upon begin to fail. Possessions once treasured can be lost or taken away. Sometimes these diminishments are slow and graceful and sometimes swift and cruel. But, for all who live long enough, they are inevitable.
Yet, for all that, there is a blessing in the ability to come to terms with our own human frailty and mortality. There is grace in the realization that, in the words of poet Theodore Roethke, “body from spirit slowly does unwind, until we are pure spirit at the end.”
That is part of the wisdom of the aging. It is a wisdom reflected in Maria.
Ofelia stands in the kitchen of the home she shares with her daughter and son-in-law in Guatemala.
Seventy-eight-year-old Ofelia proves the age-old adage, “with age comes wisdom,” to be true.
“My first advice is to trust God,” Ofelia said. “If you want life, ask for it. Pray. Get on your knees and ask God to give you more life.”
Antonio outside his home in Mexico.
Antonio with his wife, Leonida.
Meeting Antonio, you just know he’ll have something interesting to say.
At 74 years old, Antonio has been sponsored through Unbound’s program in Mexico for 10 years. Tending to his garden and raising chickens are some of his hobbies. He has a lot of life experience and leans toward the simple life. And that’s something many of us could learn from him.
Antonio grew up working in the fields and raising cattle. He never learned to read or write but speaks two languages, Mayan and Spanish. And although he lost his eyesight many years ago and now needs assistance getting around, Antonio continues to work alongside his wife, Leonida, as they harvest corn.
Antonio has graciously shared some of his wisdom with the Unbound staff so we could pass it on to you.
Mercedes, a sponsored aging friend, stands outside her home in La Paz, Bolivia.
CFCA sponsored elderly share life experiences and offer wise advice.
Mercedes is a 75-year-old widow in La Paz, Bolivia. She has eight children, 23 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Here is an interview that Regina Mburu, CFCA communications liaison in Kenya, conducted with Truphena, 78. Truphena is in the Hope for a Family sponsorship program in Kenya.
What is your secret for long life?
Growing up in the village I had the chance to eat healthy foods, nothing artificial, only fresh food from the farm and fresh fish from the lake. This has greatly contributed to my long life.
Truphena, sponsored through CFCA’s Hope for a Family program in Kenya.
What advice do you have for young people?
I would urge young people to be content with what they can afford. Desiring what is not within their reach can lead them along the wrong path. The youth should also learn that hard work is the only way to achieve what you desire. Listening to the advice given to them by the aging is also very important, if they want to succeed.
What is the most important thing that your mother taught you?
My mother emphasized respect. She told me that to live a fruitful life, one must respect everybody that they come across.
Whatís your favorite food?
I enjoy eating fresh fish from the lake and ugali (a mixture of water and maize flour).
What do you like most about CFCA?
CFCA has supported me by giving me nutritional benefits. I am an old woman and am not able to work and get money to buy food. I am grateful to CFCA because I never go hungry. When I am sick, CFCA helps me get the treatment that I require. The people in CFCA have become part of my family; they talk with me and listen to me, and I feel much appreciated.
If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go and why?