CFCA has five communications centers in El Salvador, Guatemala, Kenya, India and Colombia.
Although we call them centers, which sound like a big operation, they actually consist of one or a few local staff members. They help us find and feature stories from our sponsored children and aging friends.
We’d like to introduce you to each communications center liaison, continuing with Luis Cocon in Guatemala.
Nothing happens by accident. I believe that God decided to bring CFCA into my life so that I may learn from my people and present their incredible stories to the world.
My name is Luis Cocon, and I am Mayan. I was born in a small community in the central highlands of Guatemala.
My father is a farmer. He has worked most of his life raising vegetables such as broccoli, sweet peas, potatoes and, of course, corn and beans. My mother, like most indigenous women, embroidered fabric to bring additional income to our family. She also took care of me, my younger brother, Kevin, and our home.
Being a Maya indigenous farmer was not easy for my father. He worked long and difficult hours under the weather with no steady income. Above all that, my country suffered 36 years of war from 1960 to 1996; it was fought between the Guatemalan government and various guerrilla groups, mainly supported by Maya indigenous people and poor peasants.
Forced recruitments around our town by the army forced my father to leave the country. I don’t have a clear memory of this because I was only 4 years old, but I can imagine how hard it was for my parents, not knowing if we would ever see each other again.
After two years, my father was finally able to save enough money to bring his family to the United States. I was now 6 and my eyes were opened to this incredibly organized and free country. I was able to go to school and learn a new language, in addition to my native Kakchiquel and Spanish.
I did not know it back then, but learning the English language would make an impact later in my life.
In 1993, I was 14 years old and things were calming down in Guatemala. My parents decided it was now safe to return home. I studied in middle school in my hometown, Patzun, and then went on to finish high school in Guatemala City. Around this time the peace treaty was signed, which ended the 36 years of civil war.
In January 2005, I got married to Mercedes, my wonderful companion. I am now a father of three beautiful children, one boy (Luis Dylan, 7) and two girls (Dulce, 3, and Cristel, 2 months).
I was also able to go back to school. This was not easy because I had to split my time between fatherhood, work and the university. In 2011, I graduated with a degree in business administration from Galileo University in Guatemala City.
How did you first learn of CFCA, and how long have you been working here?
Close to 3,000 children, youth and elderly are currently sponsored in my town. The Hope for a Family sponsorship program has provided significant help for many of my cousins, friends and neighbors.
I always knew about CFCA, and the minute I found out they needed a translator I approached the area office to apply. The language that I had learned in primary school had now given me the opportunity to serve my community.
I have now been a part of the CFCA family for more than seven years.
What does CFCA mean to you?
CFCA is my family. God granted me the opportunity to work with my people and share their dreams of a better life and a better country.
CFCA has given me great friends, great lessons of hope, humbleness, love and respect. I walk with the people we serve and discover their gifts, their dreams and hopes in spite of their reality. CFCA has changed the way I look at life.
What is it like working as a communications liaison?
I am not sure I can tell you what it’s like, but let me try.
There is so much going on; one assignment after another, always in a rush, always on deadline and always keeping my eyes open for new stories. There is a feeling of victory when I meet a deadline and then once I see my work published I say to myself, “what I am doing is important and it matters to people.”
Working with sponsored friends and their families makes me grow as a person. I learn new things, and it makes me stay connected to what is important in life: God, family and friends.
I believe I have the best job in the world, and I am in a never-ending journey of learning because I constantly try to stay informed. I meet all kinds of different people and I feel I am contributing to the betterment of society.
That’s what it’s like.
What has been your experience of learning and telling the stories of the families that CFCA serves?
I do not have a communications background, but I have learned a whole lot by just going out and doing it. I have discovered that the CFCA community is eager to share their stories, their views and their opinions. It’s just a matter of me being receptive and keeping my eyes and mind open to find the stories and answers to what I seek.
I have also witnessed the power of demonstrating my genuine love, kindness and concern for a person’s well-being. It truly makes them feel comfortable and uplifted, and it makes them look forward to interacting with me.
I feel great responsibility when informing our audience, when writing a story or filming sponsored friends. At first, I thought I would only inform and communicate stories, but then I realized that I was being invited to go way beyond that limit. I became a part of their life and I get involved in such a way that it feels like I am telling the story of a family member.
I am humbled when I walk into these homes, see their smiles and share a plate of food with a hard-working father, a single mother, a lonely aging person or a blind child learning to read and write.
We must continue telling stories because this may be the only way families in the CFCA community can have a chance to be heard. I will continue serving our sponsored children, youth and elderly with much sensibility. I understand the assignments won’t be always easy, but CFCA has now made me a part of their fight against poverty.
CFCA Communications Center, Guatemala