Last week I shared a story about discovering that someone I have known over the years through her support of Education and Hope is actually the sister of a dear friend from Wake Forest. All these years I never knew - I was blown away! It brought me a lot of happiness to re-tell this small-world story, and then to read the comments of friends who were also astonished. But one comment particularly struck me. It was from Irma, one of my original little girls from La Esperanza, now the mother of two and a cook in our kitchen. I wrote the post in English but she deciphered that Amy was someone I knew through her support of E&H. Irma took the opportunity to thank our entire community of donors, saying: “It makes me happy to see you with the people who support our program. Thanks to them we are doing well. May God bless you today and always. To everyone who adds their grain of sand to build Education and Hope, may God bless you and multiply all that you share with us all. We love you!” It got me thinking about the family we are continually becoming. Right now, Lorena is kayaking for the first time on sunny Lake Atitlan at the invitation of Megan. a friend who has spent half her life of raising awareness about our program. Emma, is involved enough that she knew without hesitation that this fall would be Wilson's graduation when I was unsure whether it was this year or next (mom fail for me!). Ana and Ken just came back to spread their generosity and love for the third time! And just last night Karen and I were with a new friend, enthusiastic about our mission, who took the time to brainstorm with us about ways to fundraise and strengthen our foundation. These are just a few recent examples of the way we create community: in Xela, back in the US, across worlds and cultures and language barriers. I love watching friendships begin and then be sustained over the years. And I love seeing sparks fly when people identify with our mission and want to help us find ways to carry our success into the future. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to who we are and what we do. It's because of you that we are able to make such a profound difference in so many lives. ❤️
Exploring kinship. Creating community. #togetherwerise #kinship #creatingcommunity #healthybodieshealthyminds #greenyourworld #educatetoempower
Culinary field trip with our señoras! We invited the kitchen staff out for lunch at Xela Green, a local vegetarian/vegan-friendly restaurant, to increase our exposure to plant-based recipes. We sampled garbanzo patties, lentil burgers, lentil ratatouille, and garbanzo stew, all served with whole grain rice and spinach salad. While rice and beans have always been a Guatemalan staple, not all families have access to affordable fresh produce. Familiarity with these tastes and experience cooking healthier recipes can be limited. Over the years in our after school program kitchen we have introduced a wide variety of vegetables into our daily meals and have made great strides at lowering our overall sugar intake and use of saturated fats. Taste buds and age-old eating patterns do not change overnight, but I have enjoyed experiencing the growing appreciation for a cleaner and more well-balanced diet, especially the enthusiasm of a few of our cooks to seek out new ways to prepare things that are good for us. As a community there is still much for us to learn about nutrition but we continue to strive to improve our commitment to safer, healthier choices. Next stop? An organic farming project. 💚 Stay tuned!
New days, new ways! @educationandhope now has a Montessori-inspired dish washing station and each person is responsible for washing his or her own plates. We have been searching for ways for our students to be able to actively contribute to the well-being of our program, for them to be able to offer something in return for all they receive. We inaugurated the dish washing project a few weeks ago and on the first day it was already a huge success! So wonderful to see how eager everyone has been to pitch in. You can feel the satisfaction of kids taking responsibility, the señoras have a lighter cleaning load, and we’re breaking cultural stereotypes by modeling that all humans can do house work, not just women. We’re never too old (or young!) to learn new things! Our homemade washing station tables were made by our brilliant carpenter dads, Guadeloupe and Juan. #togetherwerise #creatingcommunity #educatetoempower #educationandhope #guatemala
Radiant Greisy. ❤️
My soul so needed to read this prayer again today. Happy birthday, Cesar Chavez. May your commitment to social justice, your unwavering solidarity with the poor, your persistence, courage, compassion, and devotion continue to inspire us all, reminding us that our collective future depends on each one of us working together to create a better world. . “Show me the suffering of the most miserable; So I will know my people's plight. Free me to pray for others; For you are present in every person. Help me take responsibility for my own life; So that I can feel free at last. Grant me courage to serve others; For in service there is true life. Give me honesty and patience; So that I can work with other workers. Bring forth song and celebration; So that the Spirit will be alive among us. Let the Spirit flourish and grow; So that we will never tire of the struggle. Let us remember those who have died for justice; For they have given us life. Help us love even those who hate us; So we can change the world. . .~Cesar Chavez . *image via Habitat for Humanity.
This is how I started my day this morning, with cheers and hugs and happy smiles from these tiny creatures who all rushed to greet me as soon as I walked in the door. Some days you don’t need much to remind you you’re in the right place, to remember how lucky you really are. #thisiswhatlovelookslike #creatingcommunity #educatetoempower #guatemala #educationandhope
“Let us not tire of preaching love; it is a force that will overcome the world.” -Saint Oscar Romero On this day in 1980, Saint Oscar Romero of El Salvador was assassinated. A tireless seeker of social justice, he used his voice and his position of power in the church to speak on behalf of the poor and the marginalized against a system of endemic poverty, torture and murder, knowing full well that he was putting his life in direct danger. Once again tonight, I cannot help but imagine what our world would look like if each one of us were to dig just a little deeper, find the courage to stand up in the face of injustice, speak out on behalf of those who have been silenced, use our talents, our privilege, our resources to come to the aid of those in need. Not because we're certain we'll be successful in our efforts, but because we know in our hearts it's the right thing to do. The prayer below, written in memory of Monseñor Romero, has been an influential source of inspiration, affirmation and hope for me throughout my 25 years in Guatemala. Prophets of a Future Not Our Own “It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us... 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.”
There is no force in the world better able to alter anything from its course than love. ~Father Greg Boyle I believe this with my whole heart. It's the spirit that gives life to our work at Education and Hope. Thank you, G. ❤️ #educationandhope #homeboyindustries #kinship #lovemorethanever