Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Family Not Easily Forgotten

Posted on behalf of Erin Fitzgerald.

Ana María never strays far from my mind.

Even though it has been eight months since I visited her and her family in Guadalajara, Mexico, I still think about her often. And I can still see her dejected face yearning for help.

When I met her, she and 17 family members shared a tiny, dilapidated shack with dirt floors and an open fire to cook what little food they had. The family was plagued by little education, low income and health problems.

Heavily pregnant and not feeling well, Ana María didn’t say much when I interviewed her. But she didn’t have to. Her pleading eyes were enough to explain her desperation. For food to feed her husband and four children, for help with medical care, housing needs, educational support, and so much more – all issues that seemed overwhelming even with sponsorship support.

Sometimes I wonder why I am fortunate to lead such a different life from the families in our program like Ana María’s. Why am I lucky enough to live in a decent house and eat three meals a day while she and her family struggle so much?

On the surface, it doesn’t appear that Ana María and I have much in common. But when it comes down to it, we’re not that much different. We both care about our families and loved ones. Like everyone else, we just want to get ahead.

But unlike me, for Ana María getting ahead often means just having enough money to feed her kids.

Read more about Ana María and her family in the Spring 2007 issue of Journeys magazine. To read an online version, click here.

5 comments:

T.K. said...

Hi Jennifer,

Do you have information about the latest situation of Ana Maria? Is she getting any extra help, say, from CI or from any other sources. I understand that there are so many children and families needing help. For the time being, what can we, the others sponsors, do to help her?

Thanks,

TK

evergreen3 said...

I'd like to help Ana Marie also, as I've helped others recently. I'm wondering if the families featured in these blog spots could have a special fund set up to meet some of their needs, so that anyone reading the blog could contribute and either designate a particular family to be helped or the monies received could be distributed based on the greatest need or to everyone equally? Although we as individual sponsors have various options available to us to help families through Children International including the special funds like the Hope or Housing funds which help many, these blogspots are upclose and personal in that they put a name to the faces we see and in a sense appeal to us to help out. Some of us can afford more than others, but even a few dollars donated by many, could make a difference in their lives.

Erin said...

Hi TK,

This is Erin Fitzgerald. I wrote the story in the Spring 2007 issue of Journeys magazine about the Ponce family and the corresponding blog entry. Thanks for your comments.
We continue to receive updates on the Ponces. Our staff in Guadalajara has been checking in with them regularly. They arranged food donations from a couple other organizations in Mexico. And our staff here in Kansas City allocated some donation money to help provide the family with food, clothing and household goods.
While these donations have helped the Ponces a great deal, the family still has many other needs. When I visited them, their living conditions were absolutely horrible – among the worst I’ve seen. Sponsors interested in helping can call 1-800-888-3089 and speak to our Sponsor Services representatives.
Thanks again for your interest!

TK said...

I called CI today and spoke to one of the Sponsor Services representatives. There was a tiny problem at the beginning in finding a way to donate to the family of Ana Maria, but the representative was very helpful and figured out a way. I was able to give a special needs gift to Ana Maria's family.

For the information of anyone who wishes to help Ana Maria, the minimum for special needs gift is $100.

I hope a special project can be set up someway so that more sponsors can participate in helping her family.

TK said...

Hi Erin & Jennifer,

I am wondering how is the family of Ana Maria now.