Sowing footprints

Sister Mariela and the group of Footprints of Charity

To know how Sister Mariela is, we just need to ask her 17 or 18-year-old students who share with her diverse activities in the group “Footprints of Charity” to instantly get in response many phrases in unison: “She leaves a footprint”, “She is extremely simple, humble, easygoing; helps others and dedicates herself fully”, “She demands from us that we give the 101%”, “even if she has nothing, she makes the impossible, she has a clear need to serve the other”, “She is: Love your Neighbour”. In a few words they said the first thing that crossed their minds, with a cheerful and fresh spontaneity. It’s just that with her, these teenagers have been living and discovering since grade 7 the satisfaction of serving others, taking care of the ones with the utmost need as well as working for their community, caring, cleaning and rescuing parks and common spaces.  Continue reading

Hands Wide Open

Our heroine has no costume or cape, but the one thing she cannot do is: fly. It is almost impossible to get her to pose for a picture; she is thin and small and despite her aerodynamic clothes could make her fly in a storm, she prefers to stay down here, close to the mud and those who suffer the most. Marlen may look tiny to our eyes, but she is just disguising an engine filled with a throng of power horses, courage and humbleness who dedicates every minute of her life to care for the abandoned disabled: the poorest of the poor, those who cannot even ask for help.   Continue reading

The paths of Life

seeing through their eyes…

Many times these paths are not what we have expected, believed or imagined’, like the songs goes, but these paths make us go to every kind of place, sometimes with unexpected stops, extended joys or brief sighs of emotion. We are driving towards our objective and life surprises us during our journey. Yomaira is 41 years old and is fulfilling her dream, to become a Teacher. Since she was very young she has dreamt of educating others, to keep them away from the poverty and violence in which they were immersed. With no hesitation, she set down to teach the kids who couldn’t access school, while peeling yuccas and breastfeeding her baby in her humble house located on the south of Barranquilla, Colombia, in the neighborhood ‘7 de Abril’. Nothing and no one could make her lose hope that someday, this longing which in part she was already accomplishing, could be multiplied and get bigger beyond her expectations.       Continue reading

Everything for her dear old ones

with Inesita

In the least expected spot of the Colombian Andes, a touristic place for its colonial architecture and picturesque like no other, we didn’t expect to be surprised like we eventually were. In general, the places that attract so many visitors usually show a ‘happy community’ image, without any needs, probably hiding the least attractive side to the foreigner. For what I understand, there is always a “parallel world” that lives by different timetables and paths; it requires a change in habits to be able to casually come across it, if we are open enough to face it. Continue reading

“I thirst”

The one, MTC

I thought I understood what it meant to live a life of service to others, but every new day shows me the opposite. I believe that each profession has its own value, and one can help the others from where one is, but there is no doubt that some jobs are almost exclusively meant to be of service to others, for Love, those that no salary can afford. I knew just a few people close to me like my soul friend Carola, a kindergarten teacher who is for me an example of real vocation: she never gets tired of changing diapers of kids who are not hers nor her nephews, with a smile every time, trying to get the best out of these little earthquakes, forgetting completely about herself and helping them to develop happy and unique. She leaves behind her worries, tiredness or impatience to be their guiding light. ‘Fortunately’ the path of my life kept me away of the world of nursing, with just a few own experiences, until my cousin Agustina became a nurse; slowly I was being convinced that her service y and concern for the person next to her had long ago overpassed the limit of the family; she wanted to help everyone, especially the weakest.   Continue reading

Always a Yes

Susan and Luis with their new caffe latte

This time it was Gardenia who complained, and making a weird noise combined with a smell of a burning wire, forced us to stop in “that” exact place, on Holy Wednesday. It was in front of a charming inn at Mindo, Ecuador; an oasis of the subtropical forest in the middle of hills and clouds. At the door we mt and talked to the owners: Luis, Ecuadorian, married to Susan, from the United States, who were intrigued by our trip. The following morning we were invited to the best coffee we had had in the last 6 months, and then we “self-invited” to see their organic coffee plantation, confirming our first impression: we were facing a very special couple. Susan told us about many supportive projects at Mindo, we shared our joy and liking for the choice of an Argentinean Pope and also disciple of Saint Francis of Assisi, their favorite saint (and also ours!). They suggested that we talked to Father Ubaldo, who could guide us in our search: Someone who is changing the world through the service to others.      Continue reading

Painting the future

Lupita and her ballet dancers

Lupita never imagined 17 years ago, that her candid offer to help giving art classes at the Parish Our Lady of the Clouds would be so successful. When she heard the request for help from the parish priest who didn’t know how to entertain the kids during the afternoons of vacation time, it occurred to this art teacher newly arrived to Ballenita to present herself at the parish and dedicate some afternoons to this new activity. The surprise came when 200 students signed up for the workshops. They had to create different classes, with only a big room, plastic benches and paint received through donations to finally let imagination fly in their drawings. Continue reading