Today is Mother's Day in Guatemala. This day of celebration always occurs on May 10. Well, actually, that is not totally true. It seems as though the real day is May 10, but preparations for the event begin weeks in advance!
I can think of no place where mothers are worthy of such celebration! Day in and day out, their lives revolve around their children and the work of the home including cooking, washing, bathing, cleaning...all with their hands. We often hear that it is the women that will lead communities out of poverty. That is clearly visible here. They have a deep hope for the future of their children and their community.
The kindergarten in Purushila has a special gift for gathering and teaching not only the children but also the mothers. Every day mothers are on sight doing all sorts of service. Each day a team of mother's cook lunch for the children, some come to water the garden or reap the produce to be used in the school lunch or for another community lunch program. Some come to clean the yard or paint the fence. Some come to watch the progress of their children or to celebrate birthdays. It is a welcoming place for the women.
I particularly enjoyed watching the women enjoy themselves as they prepared for the grand Mother's Day celebration held at the kindergarten. For several days, young mothers came to practice some simple dances to be performed for their audience of other mothers and children. The women are shy by nature and dancing in front of the others was a leap! But to see their excitment and to hear their laughter in this simple pleasure was delightful!
The teachers at the school began three weeks ago to make decorations and to petition at businesses for simple gifts to be given away to the mothers. That seems to be the common practice here. They did their best to make this a BIG DEAL! A band came, clowns came, Queen mothers were chosen, caters served a delicious meal and gifts were given. The women were called up in groups of four or five to answer a simple quiz show question and to receive a prize. My favorite part was that each woman was given an opportunity to speak to the group from the microphone. What a wonderful way to practice empowerment in a safe place and to learn to hear and listen to their own voice.
During the meal, the women viewed a short video about a woman with no arms. This woman used her feet for everything. The woman was perhaps a sign of hope, a sign that all things are possible with a bit of determination and faith in God.
There are multiple celebrations in the municipality and particularly in the schools. Thursday was the day that the kindergarten celebrated, today the primary school celebrates and Sunday the telesecondary school students celebrate their mothers. Enjoy the pictures of this great day! And HAPPY MOTHER's DAY to ALL!
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012