On the Fourth of July, Americans will gather to celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, parades and picnics. Although the United States and the countries CFCA partners with do not celebrate independence on the same date, we share many customs and events.
In Central America, most countries celebrate their independence on Sept. 15 with parades and music. The running of the Central American Freedom Torch from Guatemala to Costa Rica, taking a total of 14 days, reenacts the news of their independence spreading through Central America.
South Americans celebrate with large celebrations, flying flags, parades, fireworks and feasting. In India, all cities have Flag Hoisting Ceremonies run by politicians and other officials. Indian schoolchildren gather to sing songs and watch the hoisting of the flag.
Under colonization, Haitians were forbidden to eat soup, a meal reserved for the upper classes. Now on Independence Day, it is traditional to eat soup to demonstrate the equality of all citizens.
People of the Philippines celebrate their independence with ceremonies, historic exhibitions and memorial events. Festivities begin with a flag-raising ceremony and parade in the historic city of Cavite, where Filipinos first proclaimed their independence.
We would like to encourage you to research how the country your friend lives in celebrates its independence. And from all of us at CFCA, we wish you a safe and wonderful Independence Day.
The Independence Days of the countries CFCA partners with are listed below.
Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua
Today, much of the international community is celebrating Labor Day, also known as International Workers’ Day. Labor Day recognizes the social and economic achievements of laborers. Though much has been accomplished for workers, including safer working conditions and representation through labor unions, workers like those in Tanzanian rock quarries still labor under very difficult conditions.
Mary Dawn Reavey, the Dar es Salaam project coordinator in Tanzania, gives us a look at the working conditions of people who break rocks for a living.
Story by Reavey, and video by Freddie (sponsored) and Emma (formerly sponsored).
Freddie, Emma and I interviewed and filmed some guardians of sponsored children who break rocks for a living. Because many parents die from AIDS, their children are often raised by guardians such as uncles, aunts, brothers or sisters.
At a quarry outside Dar es Salaam, workers break rocks near the road to be more accessible to potential customers. To protect them from the blazing sun, the workers construct a covering with sticks and old flour sacks.
They pound rocks for at least eight hours a day, starting around 6 a.m. to avoid the intense midday heat. CFCA is helping many of these guardians start small businesses, allowing them to significantly reduce the time they spend breaking stones, or stop altogether. Continue reading →
Neema, shown here in the picture at the right, may be young but he already knows the power one person has to make a difference in the world. Thatís because a person named Vanessa made a huge impact in his life. Neema is a sponsored child, receiving care through the CFCA project in Tanzania. Before sponsorship, his situation was bleak. But when Vanessa stepped forward to become his sponsor, he began receiving life-giving benefits, including medication to treat his illness. Today, his life is much different.
CFCA advocates know that there are many more children like Neema, who need a sponsor to make a difference in their lives. Thatís why, from March until the end of May, we are inviting our advocates to participate in a special sponsorship drive called The Power Of One. During this time frame, their challenge is to accept One folder and Find One Sponsor.
Did you know that if each advocate found JUST ONE sponsor, it would be enough to sponsor all the children waiting in Bolivia, Peru and Nicaragua! Thatís incredible. Please keep our advocates in your thoughts and prayers for a successful sponsorship drive.
If you are interested in learning more about the advocacy program, or participating in the Power of One campaign, contact the advocacy team at 800.875.6564, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
As we give thanks for the old year and look with anticipation to the new one, let us walk in solidarity with our sisters and brothers around the world throughout the day. We have listed below the time it will be here in the United States when the New Year arrives at each of our projects. We encourage you to say a quick prayer for each of the projects as your day progresses.
India and Sri Lanka
Bolivia, Dominican Republic
Haiti, Jamaica, Peru
Costa Rica, El Salvador,
Please pray: Gracious God, I pray for my sisters and brothers in ______. May the New Year bring them hope, joy and peace.
And from all of us at CFCA, we pray the New Year also brings you hope, joy and peace!
With no prior video experience, two office assistants at CFCAís project in Tanzania have captured a recent benefits distribution day at the project office in Tegeta.
Emma, 19 and formerly sponsored, operated the video camera, while 21-year-old Freddie played host. Minor edits and subtitles have been added to the short clip.
Itís hard to tell from his confident presentation that a few years ago, Freddie was ìpathologically shy,î Project Coordinator Mary Dawn Reavey said. His confidence gradually improved after becoming sponsored several years ago. Besides attending high school, Freddie helps translate letters for the project.
Emma helps with project photos and discovered the cameraís video button by accident. Reavey said he has a gift for training and teaching.
Sponsored members visit the project office monthly to collect nutritional benefits, including maize flour, rice, sugar and supermix ujióa high-protein porridge. Once every quarter, sponsored members receive hygiene benefitsósuch as toothbrushes, toothpaste and bar soapóin addition to the nutritional items. Members also receive help with education, health care and home repairs.
The young men promised to send more video clips of day-to-day life in Tanzania.
This is the†final entry in a series of three. In March, Rachel Scherzer, who works in Child Services at the CFCA Kansas City office, traveled to Tanzania to visit her sponsored child, Bariki. She spent more than a week living and volunteering at the CFCA Dar es Salaam project.
When I got off the plane in Tanzania, I had no idea what to expect. I had been traveling for more than 24 hours, I was exhausted and in serious need of a shower.
I knew my sponsored child, Bariki, would be beautiful. I had loved him since I got his first picture, a huge smile with several baby teeth missing. I didnít know that this shy little boy would change the way I thought about things. I had prepared for an adventure and, in the week I spent with him, thatís definitely what I got.†††††
Bariki lost both his parents and two siblings to AIDS, all within a few months. He was shipped from place to place, unwelcome because of the virus he carried or turned away because there was no room for him. He finally landed at the project in Tegeta with Mary Dawn, a stranger who took him in and is now a mother to him.
In sub-Saharan Africa, stories like Barikiís are tragically common. But the difference is that this particular story belongs to someone that I love. Bariki has become a part of my life. His story is now part of my story.†††††
For me, Bariki has put a face on ìworld problemsî that often seem a comfortable distance from my life here at home. The AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa, something I have been studying closely for years, was not real to me until I met Bariki and his friends in Intensive Day Therapy and saw for myself the staggering drug regime they have to follow. Poverty was not real to me until I saw people doing without basic necessities in Barikiís neighborhood. I had not realized the general sense of security I feltóknowing that I was protected from such things by the random circumstances of my birthóuntil I felt its absence in the developing world.††††
When I donít know what to pray for, I pray for Bariki. When I need to remember what is important, I think of him. I made the seemingly small decision to let Bariki into my life, and now my life is different.†
This is the second entry in a series of three. In March, Rachel Scherzer, who works in Child Services at the CFCA Kansas City office, traveled to Tanzania to visit her sponsored child, Bariki. She spent more than a week living and volunteering at the CFCA Dar es Salaam project.
I did home visits yesterday, visiting two families who are new to the sponsorship program. These kids live really, really far out. I’m a bad judge of distance, but I know it took us at least 45 minutes to get to the first kid’s house, most of it walking under the scorching African sun. I have some pretty wicked burn/tan lines. It got to the point that I was thanking God for every breeze and patch of shade.
The second girlís house wasn’t as far but it was all downhill getting there, which means it was all uphill getting back. And, of course, during all of this I’m wearing flip-flops, which was a disaster! My feet were so filthy by the time we got to the first house that the mama insisted I wash my feet. Not only did she insist, she “helped” me, using water that I know she probably couldn’t spare. And then she thanked me profusely for visiting her home!
The kid’s house was so remote that I was probably the only white person the villagers had seen. All the kids rushed out of their houses to stare at the “mzungu” (white person). We also rode the daladala, which is basically their bus, but really it’s just a big van. It was like a clown car in there. Every cubic inch was filled with bodies. I had some woman practically sitting on me at one point. But after all that walking I was grateful to be in a car.
Today I went into town with one of the seminarians. I basically followed him around while he did errands, so I got to see a lot of the city. And we went to the national museum, which shows all the traditional homes that people still live in. They were literally mud huts. The coast is pretty westernized but the further inland you get, the more primitive the conditions. I bought some beautiful postcards and paintings, too, but you may never see them because I will have trouble parting with them.