She works 8-4, five days a week, as a cleaning lady for a clinic in her village. Her name is Damary, and she lives in Honduras. The pay isn't great, but given the economic situation in her country, she is grateful to be employed. Living paycheck to paycheck is a way of life for so many people like her.
Two very similar people, both of whom I've met and spoken with, and yet the situation couldn't be much more different.
We were sitting together, stalling on our goodbyes, and squeezing in every last bit of conversation that we could. I wanted to know as much as possible before all that was left was three letters a year... three handwritten letters from the mother of our sponsored child, Bessy.
I asked Damary if there were any specific prayer requests for her personally, and after some thought, she asked me to pray about her pay. Even though I had been here in Honduras for nearly a week, my innocence and naivety still clung to me stubbornly in so many ways, yet little by little, it was disappearing. It wasn't disappearing fast enough to keep up with this conversation, but that was soon about to change.
The North American part of me imagined that she meant for us to pray that her pay would increase. Perhaps I needed to pray for a raise? Wouldn't you have assumed the same thing?
I was wrong.
You see, Damary is not concerned about the wages, her only concern is the time between pays. She lives paycheck to paycheck in a way I have never, ever heard of. She explained that she gets paid every 5 months. That's right. That was not a typo, it's 5 months, not 5 weeks. Her paycheck has to stretch for five months.
I had never heard of such a thing... I asked her to repeat... Five months... The words swam heavily in my mind, repeating themselves like an echo...
Imagine going into work every single day, working hard, living paycheck to paycheck, but that period between paychecks is five long months? Five long months to budget for, and try to make ends meet? Five long months of trying to keep your morale up even though you feel as though you're working every day for nothing? That the pay you're looking forward to is so far in the distance, it seems like a mirage as you approach closer? I'm sure there are days when she struggles to see the light at the end of the tunnel... wouldn't most people?
Imagine living with the knowledge that if you were fired three months into it, you may never see that pay?
Imagine knowing the government is so corrupt and lawless that there is little you can do in fear of losing the only job you have?
How does Compassion help? Sponsorship provides relief by taking care of the needs of Bessy in holistic ways so that her mother can live paycheck to paycheck without her daughter's needs as an added concern.
There's more, though, much more.
Compassion provides HOPE.
It is said that the children are our future... but if we wait until the future to realize their worth, it will be too late. The time to act is now.
The youth of this generation will someday grow to run the country of Honduras... and Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, El Salvador, Ecuador, Mexico, Ghana, Indonesia, India, and beyond... What if Bessy became the next President of Honduras? Do you honestly think she will stand by and allow the lawlessness that makes it possible for women like her mother to work in such unacceptable conditions?
The holistic approach of Compassion's work gives Bessy a chance to grow up and make a positive impact on the life of her family, her church, her village... her nation. The same impact that drove the gangs away from her village. Poverty's cycle CAN be broken in one single generation, through sponsorship.
That generation is in need right now.
For sponsorship from Canada, please click here, or email me at JD (at) beyondmeasure.me -- I have 3 child information packages for 3 beautiful children from Honduras waiting for a sponsor. Two girls and one boy. They are from the same Compassion project that Luis, the Leadership Development Program student grew up in. I also have a sweet boy from Columbia, and a precious girl from India.
For sponsorship from the U.S.A., here is a link from my friend Kristen, a U.S. advocate for Compassion.