We give thanks to God and to you for guiding, supporting, and encouraging us in 2017. We are continually astounded by the overwhelming goodness that has been shown to us. We consider 2017 a year of success and growth. As we prayerfully prepare for 2018, we want to take a moment and thank you for accompanying us in this journey.
As an organization feel honored that God choose us to prepare and serve nearly 50,000 meals, and assist twenty-two families with groceries every month. In addition, aid eight parents with formula regularly, cover the costs of six surgeries, and continue to support our volunteers in their studies. By God’s grace we were able to maintain our two full-time employees, and move to our permanent location. While we are grateful for how well the programs are going, we are well aware that they are only avenues to reach our main goals. Create a community of love and support. Create an environment where individuals feel accepted and welcomed. Create an atmosphere that encourages personal and spiritual growth. We ask that you prayerfully consider supporting us in 2018 as we continue our programs and work towards purchasing our permanent location.
We are well aware that your lives are often chaotic, and your agendas are full. For that reason, we fill all the more blessed that you took time to think of us, and more importantly the people we serve. Thank you for walking alongside us as we develop as an organization.
We want to share with you some excerpts from interviews we have been conducting with our volunteers and individuals who benefit from our programs. We feel it is important to share the stories of those in our community to allow for a better understanding of the hurt and heartache they experience on a daily basis. Their stories might be difficult for you to hear, but they are important ones. These are the individual we partner with on a daily basis. They tell stories of everyday life in Santa Maria and of their past struggles. These are the individuals who are no longer alone in their suffering because of your generous support of our organization.
Stories From Guatemala
When I was little I lived with the wife of my uncle. We used to walk almost to Antigua to bring wood and vegetables back. There was no shoes in those times. All I remember is how the dirt burnt my feet as I walk. We earned 0.15Q (2 cents) a day. My aunt didn’t care if I was sick. If you said that your head hurt from how heavy the cargo was, she didn’t care….
I thought those were hard times. But, when you are young you have energy. Not like now. I am getting older every day.
This shawl I have I started making when my husband was sick I would start weaving; he was in bed. He would call me over to sit with him. I dropped my weaving and sat with him until he feel asleep. Once he went to sleep, I went back to weaving. That’s how we passed all our days. I guess some people just want company when they are sick.
For three days, he didn’t drink anything. He was gasping. I stayed up all night with him. There I sat with him, but his eyes didn’t open.
The neighbor came to see him, but his tongue was in the back of his throat. That is when she said he wasn’t alive anymore
Now I am all alone. Who for me?
“I told my husband our daughter was sick. He didn’t believe me. I knew I couldn’t wait for him, so I just tried my best to put money together. I took her to the hospital and they said she had hepatitis. I knew something was wrong because her eyes turned yellow. Finally, my husband began to believe me. He thought I was making it up just to get money. Once he offered me the money for her medicine, I just told him that I already paid for it. I can’t wait around for someone to believe me that they really is something wrong when our kids are really sick.”
-Mother in the community
I am the oldest son of 8 children. I have 3 brothers and 4 sisters. Since I was little I wanted to help others. That is what brought me here to this organization. Here, I have found a lot of people who have the same ideas as me. There are people here from Santa who want to help others. I feel lucky to have them. I’ve also been lucky to find people from others countries who also want to help. There is a lot left to do to help the people who need it most, but we are achieving this little by little. Alone, you cannot do it. It needs to be with the help of various people. People who help us from other countries help us a lot to achieve our goals of helping others.
My father works in the fields and my mom sells vegetables in the capital. She has to leave at midnight to go set up in the market. Ever since I was little we took turns with my brother going to drop her off at the bus stop early in the morning. The next morning we would help my father in the fields. We have always grown peas. A few times we have grown squash as well. We don’t have enough land to grow different things. These are the vegetables my family has survived on. My siblings and I have always helped my mother get to the market, and helped my father tend the fields. We always grew up working with the idea of trying to help others people in one way or another.
The hardest thing about living in Santa Maria is finding opportunities. It is really hard. In years past, it was very difficult to go to school. You used to have to go to a different town to study, but that has changed. Now in Santa we have basic elementary schools. Once you get through elementary school some doors are opened to you, but it is still really hard. To go to a high school you have to choose one of the difficult specialties. Most people get a degree in something basic if they go to high school because it is what they can afford. The problem is, you can’t find a job with a basic degree. These are some of the problem we have here.
If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to help others. Even though we don’t have anything, we always try to help those who need it. We try to follow the example of Jesus who was always serving people. That is the way we should be too. We should preach through this example and give to others.