Oct 31 2012

Visiting sponsored aging friends in Guatemala

CFCA in Guatemala: Olga Argueta and Cleta, sponsored aging friend

From left are Olga Argueta, CFCA staff member in Guatemala, and Cleta, a sponsored aging friend.

In the countries where we work, the elderly often have no one to depend on for their well-being. They receive no social security and may not be able to count on family members for support, as adult children are often occupied with their own survival.

About three years ago, a community in Guatemala noticed some of our sponsored aging friends had difficulties traveling to the local CFCA office for birthday celebrations, Christmas celebrations and other CFCA activities. So they decided to take the celebrations to the sponsored friends’ own homes, and that’s how regular visits to sponsored elderly began!

In the words of Olga Argueta, CFCA staff member in Guatemala

Every three months we plan one whole day for visiting the elderly. We have identified six friends of the 50 sponsored aging friends in our community who have difficulties moving around, and they are the ones we visit. Read more

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Oct 29 2012

Letters to sponsored friends translate into smiles

Did you know that every year, we process more than 1 million letters from sponsored friends to their sponsors?

That’s tremendous cause for celebration! Behind every letter is a special story and friendship that we treasure.

Here are three sponsored children in El Salvador who recently received letters from their sponsors. Their smiles say it all.

CFCA sponsored child Norma in El SalvadorNorma is 8 years old. She enjoys attending school and playing with her friends. Photos, like the one Norma is holding from her sponsor, are a fun, meaningful and practical way to deepen ties between sponsors and sponsored friends.

CFCA sponsored child Veronica in El SalvadorVeronica, at 10 years old, writes frequently to her sponsor. They share many things in common. For example, their favorite cartoon is “Tom and Jerry.”

CFCA sponsored child Luis in El SalvadorLuis is 10 years old. He loves to play soccer. Here he is, reading aloud from his sponsor’s letter.

Developing a sense of friendship and mutual encouragement is one of the most rewarding aspects of sponsorship through CFCAís Hope for a Family program.

Don’t wait - write a letter to your sponsored friend today!

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Oct 25 2012

Walking for water in Guatemala

Many sponsored friends and family members who live in the town of Santa Maria, in Ixhuatan, Guatemala, go without running water or electricity in their homes because these necessities are not readily available.

Edelmira and her family in Guatemala.

Edelmira and her family in Guatemala.

Edelmira is a mother of four: three boys and one girl. Edelmira’s son, Josue, is sponsored through the Hope for a Family program. The family does not have running water in the home, and they must travel to a community tank to get water.

Edelmira gives us an inside look into the life of her family.

What is the current water situation in your home?

We do not have running water in our home.

Every day I walk 20 minutes to a community tank to get our daily supply of water.

I bring the water home in big plastic jars. I carry two jars: one on my head and one on my arm.

I make several trips back and forth to the tank. I walk up and down hills, and it usually takes me about two or three hours every day.

I am familiar with walking and carrying heavy loads. When I was a little girl my father would have us work in the fields and carry big sacks of corn and beans on our head.

Do you ever experience water shortages? Read her answer

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Sep 10 2012

Welcoming a newborn baby in Guatemala

Luis Cocon, our CFCA communications liaison in Guatemala, and his wife, Mercedes, recently welcomed their third child, Cristel, into the world. Here Luis describes some local customs and traditions that take place after a baby is born.

Cristel, in Guatemala

Welcome, Cristel!

Naming babies in Guatemala is a family thing. We all get involved: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and everyone close enough will usually have a say in the matter.

We are careful in choosing names; we want our children to be proud of their name and we try to avoid those that can be offensive, funny or extravagant.

Our more common sources for names are: names of parents, grandparents or close relatives, from nature, from characteristics expected from the baby’s personality or popular names at the time.

Local customs and traditions

As soon as possible after our baby was born, my wife drank a hot tortilla drink called “atol de tortilla.” We believe this tortilla drink provides good, abundant and rich breast milk. Read more

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Jan 30 2012

Sponsored children get school supplies in Central America

The school year for Central American countries starts in January or February, and parents have been shopping the last few weeks for school supplies.

CFCA sponsored child Mauricio in El Salvador with school supplies

Mauricio, 6, is a CFCA sponsored child in El Salvador. Here he displays his school supplies purchased through sponsorship benefits.

For families living in poverty, however, school supplies can cost more than the families are able to afford. Usually the cost ranges between $50 to $60.

Families in the CFCA sponsorship program sometimes earn as little as $100 a month or less. That means buying school supplies would consume around half of their monthly income.

Here are two CFCA sponsored children in El Salvador, who obtained school supplies this year through sponsorship benefits.

Mauricio (interview with his grandmother, Antonia)

Mauricio lives with his mother, his two sisters and grandmother. His mother works as a security guard and is paid $180 a month. His grandmother sells vegetables and fruit and makes approximately $60 per month.

What does it means to your household budget for CFCA to provide these school supplies? Read more

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Feb 10 2011

Honduras project celebrates 125 sponsored members’ graduation

CFCA graduates in Santa Barbara, Honduras

Despite tremendous obstacles, 125 youth sponsored through CFCA and some scholarship students graduated from high school in December 2010.

My name is Manuel Pineda. I am the coordinator in the CFCA project in Santa Barbara, Honduras.

As coordinator, I have witnessed the efforts made by students in my country to reach their educational goals, especially those who live in rural areas.

Students are constantly tempted to drop out of school because of burdens such as economic limitations, lack of support and absence of parents, lack of public transportation to school, insufficient and inadequate nutrition, etc.

Manuel Pineda

Manuel Pineda

In December 2010, our CFCA project in Santa Barbara celebrated the graduation of 125 sponsored members and some scholarship students from high school in areas like business administration, social service, Spanish teaching, tourism and automotive mechanics. Some graduated as technicians in refrigeration, computers and nursing.

Many of these students had to work to cover part of their educational expenses. Others had to walk more than 6 miles to get to school, but with the support of CFCA, they have had the chance to reach their professional dreams.

“I thank CFCA for supporting me since fourth grade up to finishing my high school. When my mother passed away, I did receive economic and spiritual support,” said Nancy, a sponsored girl who graduated from high school after studying business administration.

Parents of Mirta, a sponsored girl and now a computer technician, told us, “We had five children and only Mirta has had the chance to give us the joy of seeing her graduate because we never pictured having this in our life.”

I have been able to appreciate the joy of these parents, a couple in their 70s, to see the success of their daughter, which they consider a family achievement.

The graduated students have demonstrated they are capable, with good behavior and great discipline, once given an opportunity. CFCA helps them to overcome the obstacles that they face daily.

When I reflect on these achievements, I see how CFCA is an active source of hope, helping the sponsored members and their families to be strong and to transform their own realities.

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Feb 9 2011

‘I never felt so loved and appreciated in my life’: A sponsor’s trip to Costa Rica

Georgina Hartwell sent us this evaluation after she and her husband, Henry, went on a mission awareness trip to Costa Rica. While there they visited Steven, their sponsored friend. We are sharing this evaluation with their permission.

Steven's family

From left are Georgina; Steven, the Hartwells’ sponsored friend; Steven’s sister, Noelia; Steven’s mother, Jolane; and Henry.

Did you find that the orientation and information provided by the CFCA project staff during the trip adequately described the host country and CFCA’s work there?

Yes.

Would you recommend a CFCA mission awareness trip to others?

Yes.

Why or why not?

It was up close and personal. We saw our money at work.

Please describe your impressions of the trip and how the trip affected you personally.

I cried a lot. I never felt so loved and appreciated in my life (I’m 68). It was more than I expected. I guess I thought we would view much from afar. We did not. We were so very much “with the people.”

Also, on the trip we celebrated our 47th anniversary. The women of Desamparados surprised us with a beautiful, huge, delicious cake ñ enough to share with all!

Hartwells' anniversary cake

The Hartwells’ anniversary cake.

Any additional comments or suggestions?

The week was packed full of activities but I never felt pressured with a time schedule. Yes, there was a schedule but the staff and our wonderful driver, Carlos, always managed to be a bit flexible with a smile!

God bless all aspects and people of CFCA. With the five enclosed brochures you sent us, I will do my best to get five new sponsors.

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