Helping villages in Guatemala, one nurse at a time, happens slowly. Very slowly. As in years.
Ask a Mayan girl what she wishes to be when she grows up and she will tell you that her desire is to be a teacher. Teachers are often the only female professionals Mayan girls are exposed to, if they are fortunate enough to attend school. Few girls hidden in the deep recesses of the Guatemalan highlands dream of being a nurse, since most of them have never seen one. Estela, for whatever reason, had big plans to help her village and she knew that the lack of access to health care was one of their most critical needs.
The obstacles to achieving her dream were enormous. Estela lived in a building that did not deserve to be called a dwelling. She was fatherless, the oldest of five chronically malnourished children, and her mother had no formal education or income. In essence, Estela had nothing but desire.
The story of how Finding Freedom and Adopt-A-Village Guatemala partnered to fabricate a future for a girl who dared to dream is too long and burdensome for this post. Suffice to say that it took five years of networking, thousands of dollars of donations, and collaboration that is unusual among nonprofits. Estela needed day-to-day supervision and on site support. She found it at the boarding school we paid for, and that AAV runs. Her family needed food so Estela could focus on her studies instead of her stomach: FFF paid for the food supplies and AAV delivered the items. When Candalaria’s (Estela’s mother) rotted roof would no longer keep out the deluge of water that dumps during the rainy season, we sent funds for a new home and AAV found local builders. In other words, Finding Freedom financed the network of support that this determined young lady needed in order to achieve her dream.
How could we justify our long-term and expensive commitment to this one young lady? Having worked in the mountains of Guatemala for years, this article on the status of health care in Guatemala is both informative and compelling and will explain how we justified our expense. (Health care access in Guatemala)
We realize that there is a limit to what one petite young nurse can do to help so many people in need. Estela’s health care expertise will not be the only gift she will bring to her mountains neighbors. As Estela walks through local villages, “one of their own” will be the inspiration and role model for other young ladies who thought that their own lives could only mirror their mother’s. Estela’s education will ensure she marries for love rather than for shelter. Her future children will have a mother who can assist them with their own schoolwork and who will be able to manage family finances.
Finding Freedom and Adopt-A-Village were the guide stones for a young lady who could have easily become another sad statistic in rural Guatemala.