There are just more than 1600 miles separating Jacqueline at her home in Guatemala, from my family and I in St. Louis.
Our homes are vastly different….hers with a dirt floor, bound next to other members of her extended family, mainly constructed of tin and housing this sweet 10 year old, her older sister, mother and maternal grandparents in a small handful of rooms.
A well supplies the water they use to cook, to bathe and to clean – everything from dishes to laundry…however, that well runs for only one hour a day, every other day. A section of their home is used to house the water they stockpile from one day to the next.
While the girls attend school – a luxury they do not take for granted – her mother, Maria, and grandparents work to earn money to live.
Her mother works fifteen days in a row, eleven to twelve hours a day, before earning a day off….and she brings home the equivalent of $200 a month. She is a single mom…her husband, Jacqueline’s father, passed away a few years ago. They proudly shared one of the only pictures they have of him.
We don’t speak the same official language and yet there was a beautiful connection from the moment we met when I visited her with the team from Unbound. She is timid around adults, like my Delaney. She loves sports like both of my kids and favors math as Cooper does.
A talented artist, she delighted in showing me her many drawings
Jacqueline is one of the children my family sponsors through Unbound – an organization working to break the cycle of poverty in countries around the world. I will be soon sharing more about my full experience with Unbound as an organization and the extraordinary work I was able to witness, but for the moment I want you to understand how Jacqueline fits in to my family.
Before my recent visit to Guatemala, my family and I had looked through many of the deserving children still awaiting sponsorship – there are currently more than 1,500 on the list in this country alone- read about their living conditions, their current family situation, their likes and their wishes for the future.
Jacqueline turned ten in September. In addition to enjoying math, she loves to sing, draw, and hopes to be a veterinarian when she grows up. As the small people and I looked through the applications, she jumped out at us – for the many things they have in common with her, and we noticed right away that her father had passed away. Delaney and Cooper gravitated towards helping a new friend who doesn’t have the luxury they do with both parents at home.
Knowing I would be meeting with our new sponsored friend while I visited the country, I brought letters from the kids and a few small gifts including crayons, markers and paper. But it was the letters Jacqueline loved the most.
Most importantly, though it is not an easy road, my goal is to show my children that ‘enough’, ‘not enough’ and ‘too much’ are all relative…. While Jacqueline’s family doesn’t have ‘enough’ food, water or money based on American standards, they are overflowing with heart, compassion, work ethic, and gratitude.
And, in many ways -that IS enough.
As I left the family, Jacqueline’s mother cried and hugged me for minutes. I refused to be the first to let go. Her grandfather’s final words to me were, ‘God Bless You and thank you for sponsoring my granddaughter’.
I am forever grateful to Unbound for giving me the chance to see the good they are doing and for the opportunity to be a small part of that ‘good’.
If you are interested in sponsoring a child (say ‘yes’! I promise you won’t regret it), you can simply visit Unbound to see the children currently in need. This page takes you to those children in Guatemala, but you and your family can certainly choose a child in another part of the world: Madagascar, Uganda, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and India are just a sampling of places where you could make a difference and connect with a young one.
$30 a month is all it takes to be a part of a child’s future.