Fifty years ago a first grader (L) sat very still while the photographer took her class photo. She was childishly unaware of the frayed ends of her braids and the gaps in her newly erupted teeth. She had brand new patent leather shoes on and they were wonderfully shiny and luxuriously black; the day couldn’t have been any better. Her only concern on this particular long-ago day was that a classmate had stolen her new yellow pencil, leaving this Kentucky girl with a sense of injustice.
Fifty Years Later in Guatemala
Two weeks ago a similarly brunette six-year-old (below) posed for a photo on the top of a beautiful and remote mountain in northern Guatemala. She was not in school and the reason this Mayan girl was being photographed was not celebratory. The person behind the camera needed to document Raquel for the nonprofit organizations that were trying to fund raise on her behalf; she needed food, and that was just the first item on the list. Clothing, blankets, a bed, pots for her mother to cook in and a stable home environment are a few of the items that follow nutrition as the essential needs of this precious girl and her five siblings.
The critical needs of a child living in deep poverty take years of funding and dedication to overcome. Those of us willing to dig deep and attempt to tackle the obstacles standing between Raquel and a life of self-sufficiency have to have fortitude and staying power. The work involved is not for those who wish to enter into charity work for a brief moment. Poverty this endemic is a beast to deal with. Raquel is a little girl with big problems.
She is the tiny David facing the giant Goliath…but without a slingshot to arm herself.
Finding Freedom and Adopt-A-Village Guatemala are Raquel’s weapons to move her to a space of well-being. We are partnering together to take the look of sadness from her eyes and fatten up her scrawny arms. Arms that will need to be strong for the field work and child care she will have to step into if she does not have the opportunity to attend school.
Why us? Because there is nobody else. Raquel’s father died recently when a tree he fell on top of him. For Guatemalan children living in a home without a wage earner in the deep recesses of rural Guatemala there are no food banks, social services, churches with funding, WIC programs or wealthy patrons nearby. There is simply an equally impoverished grandmother on standby to take Raquel in so that the meager food supplies in her mother’s home can be parceled out.
The yellow “X” on this photo (L) is a photo of the region Raquel lives in. No paved roads, and as isolated and desolate as it looks. Delivery of the essential items this family needs is as problematic as raising the funds to pay for them.
The sense of injustice that the founder of FFF felt fifty years ago is as acute today but is directed at much bigger things than stolen pencils.