Where Joy Resides
A lesson on finding happiness
By Alma Arias
October 20, 2021 | 40 Years 40 Lessons
In every house I visit in my work with Unbound, I always ask myself, “What great history is kept within those walls?”
It fills me with excitement to imagine that houses like these, so humble, protect wonderful people — mothers who are true heroines, parents who work hard to raise their families. They are incredible people who write great life stories every day, even when they don't know how to write themselves.
In 2018 I met Nelly, a smiling 42-year-old mother in Honduras with three children who are sponsored through Unbound and a husband who is a day laborer. She shared her story with me:
“I get up every morning at 5, make tortillas, put coffee on, cook beans, prepare some eggs, [so] that my three children could have a good breakfast before going to school, [so] that they learn a lot.
“I only studied the first year of elementary school, I hardly know how to read or write. So, to earn money I make bread and baleadas (a type of quesadilla) and I sell these on the streets. Once a week I also make tamales. I run back to my house and prepare lunch, and I take out the table (an old wooden table), so that my children can eat and immediately start their homework in daylight because we do have not light inside. I want my children to study, to study a lot! Let them do things that I couldn't do.
“My son Esman wants to study computer science; he is 15 years old, and he is the oldest. He tries very hard and is part of a youth group in Unbound. My daughter Anabel is 12 years old, and she is saving to buy a pig. With those savings she wants to go to the graduation party when she finishes school. And my younger daughter is Andi Johana who is only in fourth grade, and she still does not know what she is going to study, but for sure she will study something.
“Unbound makes me feel strong. Before I thought that I couldn't do it alone, but now I feel like a strong woman. Let me tell you that we are 18 women in my group of mothers. We support each other, we visit each other when we are sick, and we even cooperate to help to buy medicines.
“And guest what? You would not imagine, I'm from the correspondence committee! Maybe you will think that because I cannot read or write I could not support my group in such an important task as letters to the sponsors, but I can. We all can when we want. Maybe I can't review a letter, or help you make one, but do you know what I can do? I can go and visit their houses one by one and give them information about the letters. I can do that, and I do it very well.
“Are you asking if I am happy? What a question. Well, of course I am happy, I am very happy. I have everything I need in this world to be happy. I don't need anything, anything, anything.
“What is my dream? I dream that my children study, go to college and maybe one day, yes, maybe one day I will be able to fix my little house.”
Editor’s note: Nelly's home was badly damaged by Hurricane Eta in 2020, and her family received funds from Unbound to rebuild. Esman, now 19, recently left the Unbound program to begin working. Anabel, 15, and Andi Johanna, 12, are still sponsored.
It fills me with excitement to imagine that houses like these, so humble, protect wonderful people — mothers who are true heroines, parents who work hard to raise their families.
— Alma Arias, UNBOUND REGIONAL ACCOUNTANT
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