(This was the view from CFCA's Shalem Center as Tenley and I waited for our sponsored child, Silvia, to arrive for our July visit.)
As Tenley's and my week in Guatemala was winding down, the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA) staff talked with those of us who had been on the trip about ways we could continue to partner with CFCA once we returned home. One of the ways is to share the stories of children who still need sponsors, in hopes that someone who is seeking an opportunity to provide hope to a family and expand their own experience of another culture will choose to sponsor this child.
For this reason, I am featuring Carla tonight.
Carla just turned six yesterday (August 13). She speaks a Mayan language called Q'eqchi'. Her father is a day laborer (as a wheat grinder) and her mother is a housewife. She has a 10-year-old sister and a 12-year-old sister.
Carla's family home has board walls, a tin roof, and a dirt floor. The family does not have electricity, and they get their water from an outdoor pump. Their sleeping facilities are described as "brick with rug." The family prepares food over an open fire.The family's approximate monthly income, in US dollars, is $50.
Her profile from CFCA tells us that she likes to play chase and dance. Her jobs at home include cleaning the table and feeding the chickens. Additional biographical information says she "likes to smile, likes that everything is in order at home, and likes to run errands." Her family is described as "very humble" and they are consistently involved in activities held in their village.
These chickens belong to a family whose home Tenley and I visited.
If you are not familiar with CFCA's sponsorship program, the $30 per month commitment helps families meet basic needs such as education, nutrition and medical care. Sponsorship also provides the support and opportunities these families need to improve their life situations and provide a better future for their children. CFCA has staff who work directly with the sponsored children and their families to make sure the sponsorship money is spent wisely. In addition to improving the family's nutrition options and the child's education situation, CFCA also works with families to teach them skills they can use to generate additional income; these individuals often go on to teach others.
As I have thought this week about what I would write about Carla and, in the future, other children who need sponsorship, I kept getting a bit stumped about how to "pitch" this. I decided that my role in this process is to help tell the story, not sell the story. All I ask is that if you are seeking an opportunity to make a difference and this seems like a good fit, let me know. If you could share Carla's story among your social networks and friends, great. If you live within driving distance of me, I will be glad to brew up some Guatemalan coffee and come speak to your group.
For another sponsor's perspective, check out Lynn Woolf's post, $1 a Day, about her family's experience sponsoring Flora from Tanzania and Christian from Honduras. Lynn does a great job of describing one of the other benefits of sponsorship - the thrill of corresponding with your sponsored child.
In closing, I read this quote recently and it resonated with me as I continued to process all of the images and experiences from my trip to Guatemala:
Complete possession is proved only by giving. All you are unable to give possesses you. -Andre Gide
I am seeking your help in giving Carla the best 6th birthday present possible -- the gift of knowing someone "completely possesses" the desire to sponsor her.
For more information:
My phone number: (850) 556-3517
My email: email@example.com
CFCA email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CFCA phone: 800.875.6564
Note from Paula: It is possible that more than one person may contact CFCA about sponsoring Carla or that a potential sponsor may really have their heart set on sponsoring a boy instead of a girl, a child from one of the 21 other countries served by CFCA, or an elderly person. Please know that CFCA has many sponsorship opportunities available and will be happy to work with you to select who you want to sponsor. You can get more details on that here.