Saturday, December 29, 2012

Day 2 - #cfcatrip Visiting Santos and Angela´s Home

Day Two of our CFCA Guatemala Awareness Trip started at the St. James Cathedral in Guatemala City. We arrived right after Mass started so we don´t have inside footage of the beautiful transept but here´s a quick video highlighting a few key points.

We stopped at a CFCA Guatemalan sub-project to meet with sponsored families and see first hand how CFCA is providing encouragement and the means for these families to become self-sustaining as they build a path out of poverty.

We were welcomed with open arms and joyous hearts by over 100 families cheering our arrival. All the families love seeing Mr. Bob - Senor Roberto, founder of CFCA.

The goal of today for me was to experience first hand how we, as CFCA sponsors, walk with families on the path out of poverty via sustainable projects and education. We visited two family homes. It was humbling. 

This is my first CFCA trip The need is everywhere, the poverty is grave. It immediately became overwhelming for me (as I am a fixer) but the joy and love shines through stronger than the need - there is not despair in the eyes of the community, there is something stronger that is very hard to explain. There´s a spark in these Mayan eyes - a spark of hope, faith, respect and admiration. 

But then again, it hits me...
So much poverty. And I say this to Bob and he answers "so much hope." 

And I say, "With so much need, how do you make an impact?"  and Bob responds, "One family at a time." 
Seeing the sustainable programs in action in the community helped me understand how to see the tree of hope (one family at a time) through the forest of poverty. 

So much hope. So much love. So much respect.

In the first home, the family greeted us at the door with big hugs. The warmth this family expressed for Judy-Anne, Luis (CFCA Guatemalan Communication Liason), Maria (CFCA social worker for this community) and me was overwhelming. The father, Santos, was so proud of his two sponsored daughters, Marta and Ingrid. He very eloquently told us how incredibly talented they are. He was such a proud dad and his daughters and wife lit up as he told us stories about his daughters.

He shared how Marta is a leader in her school and takes care of goats and chickens (purchased with help from CFCA´s sustainable program) to help her family with additional income. Ingrid is shy and very intelligent. She loves going to school and wants to be a teacher.

Angela, the mother, talked about how the family is very active with giving back to the community through CFCA. Maria told me she picked Angela´s family for us to meet with because Angela is so involved with giving back to the community and Santos´ work ethic is well known throughout this area of Guatemala.

Angela shared that our visit was so special to their family that her husband took the day off work in the fields to greet us. He works Monday-Saturday 7a-7p (not including his 20-40 minute commute - walking to the fields). I wanted to ask when he had time to build their home including figuring out how to wire it for electricity - for lights.

Marta gave us a tour of their home that Santos built by himself - tin roof, concrete block basis, cornstalk walls and dirt packed floors. The one same table they have is used for many things but most importantly for Marta to do her homework. They have lights so she can study at night after her chores are finished including watching her younger siblings.

I´ll update this blog with video footage that Judy-Anne and Luis captured (post trip) so you can really see Santos and Angela´s family´s love for each other and CFCA and most importantly, how step-by-step they are walking the path out of poverty.

Interested in learning more about CFCA and why I chose to sponsor a child? Here's my story.

While I’m in Guatemala, I’ll be posting recap blogs with video here on this blog and in-the-moment updates on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

DISCLOSURECFCA is covering my flight and lodging for my Guatemala mission awareness trip in return for me documenting my trip via blog posts and sharing my CFCA awareness trip experience via my social channels. 


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Day 1 #cfcatrip - Dile Hola a Guate!

Judy-Anne Goldman, CFCA Multimedia Manager, and I started today at MCI in Kansas City around 3a. A bit blurry eyed from lack of sleep but thankful that the winter storm passed us, here's a brief video kicking off our Guatemala (Guate) adventure.

Our flight from Atlanta to Guate had boarded when we landed in ATL so we dashed to get on it and here's the gorgeous view during our descent into Guatemala City. 

Yes, we went from 10 degrees to 85 degrees in about 6 hours. The CFCA staff met us at the airport along with other sponsors. I think all told there's about 35 sponsors on this trip. We'll be sharing some of their stories throughout our trip and we have a talkative crew so we'll continue sharing stories here for as long as this crew wants. 

As soon as we arrived at our hotel, we met with Dave and four generations of family members from his sponsored daughter, Evelyn (more of Dave's story coming in a sponsors´stories compilation post) but here's a pic to show the amazing emotional bond Dave has with Evelyn whom he has been sponsoring for 14 years.  Evelyn's father died when she was two years old and Dave started sponsoring her shortly after. I felt honored to be part of their conversation. To see the mutual love and respect they had for each other. This special bond through sponsorship took my breath away. 

This afternoon we worked out connectivity issues and took in this incredible sunset. 

We have an insanely beautiful sunset video to share but we need to do some post production so we'll post it later. The whole CFCA crew joined Bob and Cristina Hentzen for our first awareness trip dinner where Chico and Brenda, our staff leads, welcomed us with open arms and treated us to a fantastic Guatemalan feast. Mucho gusto!

What I am learning first hand is every sponsor has a very different yet very similar sponsorship story. Different circumstances on why they are sponsoring but how they feel is very much the same. It's the relationship they have with their sponsored child that defines the how - there is a bond that can only be created in a hand up, heart-filled way that is defined by CFCA's mission

Say hello to Guate! Buen viaje!

Interested in learning more about CFCA and why I chose to sponsor? Here's my story.

DISCLOSURECFCA is covering my flight and lodging for my Guatemala mission awareness trip in return for me documenting my trip via blog posts and sharing my mission awareness experience via my social channels. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

CFCA Trip - A Little Bit of Info About CFCA

Thanks for giving me some wonderful ideas on what I should share with you while on my CFCA awareness trip to Guatemala. A couple of you asked me to share a little bit more about CFCA, so here's a video highlighting CFCA's founders and a quick financial overview.

This is the CFCA story from the founders themselves:

And you asked about CFCA's financials:
I am very happy to report that 93.7 percent of CFCA's expenses go toward program support. Details on CFCA's 2011 financials are here.

Now back to the big share...

We are going to keep the content under wraps and unfold it through out the trip. Please come back to this blog or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. Everything Guatemala trip-related will be tagged with #cfcatrip.

My trip is coming right up on December 26. If you have been on a CFCA awareness trip, please connect with me on Twitter or Facebook. Also, if you have any other questions about CFCA, I'm all ears. 

DISCLOSURECFCA is covering my flight and lodging for my Guatemala awareness trip in return for me documenting my trip via blog posts and sharing my awareness experience via my social channels.