By Dick Jolly and Charlie Ingersoll, Westminster Presbyterian Church (Wilmington)
On Saturday we were hosted by a Guatemalan woman who is committed to making and selling delicious chocolate in order to support her family. She is part of a small group of four women in the community who are currently receiving support from the Association’s revolving funds program. She is a recent widow with a large adult family. With a kind smile, she speaks in a quiet but confident voice.
The work of making the chocolate is an involved and time-consuming process. Meanwhile, as the family matriarch, she cares for her grandchildren, prepares meals, and runs her home. Pre-pandemic she would take a bus for an hour and a half to sell the chocolate in the village market. Did we also mention she also tends her crops in a nearby field? Her daughter, who is also part of the group, has opened a small tienda and an adjoining bakery. She is a very articulate, focused individual who is working hard and teaching her children to manage their earnings so that they will not need to consider migrating to the US. She believes Guatemalans need to stay in Guatemala to work for an improved country.
She and her siblings work at warp speed seven days a week to supply the neighborhood with fresh bread every day. When everything was shut down during COVID, they pooled their funds, purchased a bus, and drove around beeping their horn announcing their delivery of fresh bread. Genius! Another woman in the revolving fund group has opened her own casual restaurant which was brimming with activity and patrons. We will certainly eat there on our next trip and enjoy a typical Guatemalan lunch.
These amazing and resolute women have been able to create a situation where their family can be a force for good in their community. It is inspiring and moving to see what they have achieved against what many would view as insurmountable odds.