This essay found me again today (link in bio😊), a little reminder from the universe about the continuity and strength of these themes in my life - finding and creating community, encouraging others to feel the fullness of their humanity. Always enlightening to revisit your roots, to see the people and events who helped shape your passions, wind your way back to how you started out on this path that continues to lead you to where you are and towards the person you are ever-evolving to be. . “Once upon a time, I was invited by Wake Forest Magazine to write an essay connecting the dots from my days as a Women's Studies/Religion major to founding Education and Hope. Rereading the essay, I was inspired to see how this theme of finding and creating community continues to be at the core of our work in Guatemala and in my life. While I am wholly unaccustomed to seeing my face spread across the pages of a magazine, I'm honored to have had the opportunity to share my story and my passion here, especially now as Wake Forest seems to be striving to expand its commitment to Pro Humanitate ideals. Deeply grateful for the ongoing support of many good friends from my Wake community who share so much to sustain our work and continue to help me spread the word about all we do in Guatemala.” . #createcommunity #ProHumanitate #wfu #thisiswhatlovelookslike
Feeling the spirit of the inspirational, tireless seeker of justice Archbishop Romero on the anniversary of his assassination in 1980, today, March 24th, when here in the US we are seeing what it looks like when we collectively choose to dig deeper, to find the courage to stand in the face of injustice, to rise up, to speak out, to use our talents, our privilege, our voices, to work together to create a better world. . Not because we're certain we'll be successful in our efforts, but because we know it's the right thing to do. . Some of the text of the prayer in memory of Romero is transcribed below but my favorite lines are these, the ones that remind me, again and again, that we may never see the end results of our life's work, and we cannot do everything. And yet, each day we are called to renew our commitment to justice, to fight for what we believe in, to add our part - however small. To begin again. . We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us do something, and to do it well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for God’s Grace to enter and do the rest.” . from “Prophets of a Future Not Our Own” . This is what we are about: We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they will hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities. . We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us do something, and to do it well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for God’s Grace to enter and do the rest. . We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own. . A prayer in memory of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, assassinated for speaking out for justice on March 24, 1980. Photo credit: anonymous.
This year the theme for International Women's Day is #PressforProgress, putting into the spotlight the global movement toward gender equality. Guatemala is a country with a very visible gender disparity. A strict division of labor, lack of equal access to education for women and girls, high rates of domestic violence and teen pregnancy all contribute to gender-wide levels of extreme poverty. Limitations regarding access to education, adequate healthcare, family planning, and channels of support to report and prosecute domestic violence and abuse, all perpetuate systemic gender inequality and the degradation of women. • The reality of this situation can, at times, feel grim. But I am inspired daily by the power of incremental change. Our staff is largely made up of women, and each day we offer a work environment that encourages compassion and respect for others, the dignity of earning a fair wage, community, access to education, time for self-care and exercise, two healthy meals, and simply being appreciated and loved. I have witnessed the way these basic elements are transforming lives. In our program, empowerment looks like self-respect, satisfaction, pride, acknowledgment, access to opportunity, and maybe your first pair of sneakers for our weekly Zumba class. In honor of a movement that celebrates the continued pursuit of equality for women around the globe, we at Education and Hope would like to offer heartfelt thanks to our extended family of donors for the contributions that are helping to achieve those goals on a daily basis. You are enabling us to #PressforProgress. We may not be able to change the entire world, but we are most certainly changing our little corner of it. Together we rise. • #togetherwerise #InternationalWomensDay #empoweringwomen #educationandhope #PressforProgress
Happy #InternationalWomensDay! At Education and Hope we firmly believe that to successfully empower women within a society, both boys and girls need to be raised in a more inclusive environment that challenges gender stereotypes. Our commitment has always been to educate girls and boys together with equal access to opportunity and equal exposure to our fundamental belief that no human being is greater than another, regardless of race, class or gender. • However, to further these goals, in recent years we have increased our efforts to help empower the mothers in our program. We have a large population of women who are heads of household and the sole source of income for the family. Many of these women were never given the opportunity to attend school as girls and as a result, have suffered in attempts to support their families, their lack of education relegating them to exploitative poverty wages. Our most successful initiative thus far has been our Adult Literacy Program. This fall, four more of our staff received their sixth-grade diplomas! To date, all 16 of our formerly illiterate staff have completed their primary education certificates under the guidance of former scholarship recipient and current university student Rosenda Cruz. There are plans being made for continuing education in the future. • It's remarkable to witness the change in these women, the visible rise in self-confidence and self-esteem as they now write down the menus they plan each week, keeping a written record of the daily kitchen expenses, and now being able to read labels and compare products. The pride and satisfaction of participating more fully in their children's education radiate from them. With these new skills, and being able to able to more adeptly care for their families as a result, stress-levels at home have decreased, and I've watched how this has positively affected the health of the entire family. It has become more than evident that by empowering mothers we enrich the lives of the whole family. We are so proud of the accomplishments of these women, proud to be helping to lay these incremental blocks in the foundation for systemic societal change. Together we rise.
March 1, 2015 . Yesterday marked 21 years that I've been living and working in Guatemala. How perfect, then, that a friend I made during my first few months of language school would come back to Xela and visit Education and Hope on the eve of this anniversary. Friday, the wonderful wizard Mark Dosch, stopped by the after-school program for a visit. I was so sad to not be there to welcome Marcos, but what a gift to read about his time spent with our E&H family. . Okay, you must have known that this was going to affect me profoundly. I wept afterward. So unfair!!! I had the most amazing visit and tour at E and H. Lorena was amazing but the kids even more so. And Dona Carmen and all the other staff were so welcoming. It was a profoundly moving experience for me. As I was leaving the building, there was a gathering of the staff there at the exit, and at that point, I really felt the emotional impact of what was going on there. That kind of heaving weeping that indicates you've been seriously touched soulfully by others. Carmen Rosa had to comfort me on the way back. Just before that, Lorena had led us to all the classrooms to be introduced to the kids. They were all so well behaved and unbelievably courteous. They thanked me for my past support and seemed genuinely glad to meet me even though I interrupted their studies. Then later, I got similar treatment from the staff who all seemed open to hugs and kisses as well. . For all the bad things that I continuously hear about Guatemala, it is like a soothing balm to go to a place like your project and see the potential future of Guatemala in the sparkling eyes of the kids. Maybe things can turn around with this kind of compassion in action. It certainly gave me hope. I got home and wept some more especially after reading a speech by Carmen Rosa about the tears of Guatemala. It's time to wipe those tears away and get to work which seems to be happening in Education and Hope. Congratulations my friend. What a legacy you have! I couldn't have been more impressed with all the hope I could clearly see in everybody's eyes. (cont in comments) . #thisiswhatlovelookslike #createcommunity #educationandhope
Do you need more adorable in your life? Four sweet puppies ready for adoption! Healthy, vaccinated and looking for loving, attentive homes. Your heart will thank you! ❤️ Direct message me ASAP for more information. 🐾🐾🐾🐾 . Necesitas más dulzura en tu vida? Cuatro cachorritos lindos listo para ser adoptados. Saludables, vacunados y buscando el amor y atención de un buen hogar. Tu corazón te lo va a agradecer! ❤️ Mandar mensaje directo en cuanto antes para más información. 🐾🐾🐾🐾
Friends! Sorry for the radio silence! I know I haven’t posted in a while but I’ve had my hands full here in Xela with a litter of puppies I’ve been fostering. The undernourished teenage mama dog (still a puppy herself) kept delivering them, one by one, to my front door after midnight, until I finally made space for them in my home. Our hope is that two of the litter will end up being trained as therapy dogs to interact with the kids, and also serve as a starting point to begin educating our population on how to respect and care for animals. I’d like to help instill a greater sensitivity and raise awareness around the idea that animals are living creatures that need love and deserve respect just as we humans do. In the meantime, these past few weeks have contained a chaos similar to that of new motherhood (new mother of multiples!), sleep deprived nights but days infused with the joy of seeing these tiny pups grow and respond to the tender care and comfort they are receiving. My intention in helping to raise these puppies is the same as the goal in our outreach with the kids of Education and Hope: that they feel safe and secure, and know beyond the shadow of a doubt that they are loved. As you can imagine, they are quick to return the love and affection. Comfort and love and love and comfort all around. 🐾❤️ . #thisiswhatlovelookslike
2018 Goals: Discover kinship. . Make resolutions that bring more love into the world.❤️ . #NewYearsResolutions #createcommunity #kinship #thisiswhatlovelookslike #goals #collegeoftheholycross #educationandhope
2018 Goals: Nourish your body. . Make resolutions that bring more love into the world. ❤️ . #NewYearsResolutions #goals #healthybodieshealthyminds #slowdown #regenerate #selfcare #thisiswhatlovelookslike #educationandhope