Note: This blog post originally appeared on the Team Nicaragua 2012 blog of a Montclair State University group participating in a WFP delegation to Nicaragua.
By: Stephanie D
Hola! Soon we'll be off to the mountains to complete our home stays! I'm so excited to see what life will be like once I begin to live with my new family! If its anything like the rest of the delegation has been, it will be amazing. It has been a very emotional couple of days, but some one in particular made me realize something I have been missing.
We visited a little village in Matagalpe, where we met Mrs Maria Cruz. Mrs Maria is a mochilla worker in a "Free Trade" Zone. She explained to us her hard working conditions, which included beginning work at 6:45am, and ended, on the busiest of days, as late as midnight. She made about five American dollars a day, and would only receive a 20-minute lunch break, which may be her only meal of the day, depending on the work day's duties.
As Mrs Maria spoke, she continually made eye contact with me, and even though my Spanish is far from the best, I felt as if I understood every word. We asked Mrs Maria if she was content with her job, and she answered with a smile, "No, but I do it for my children". I felt like I have seen that smile before, and after a few teary moments of thought, it hit me. That was the same smile on my mother and father's face when they talk about what they do for me and my sister.
When Mrs Maria had finished, I raised my hand to speak. I told her, "Mrs Maria, you remind me of my own mother, and I need to tell you that your children appreciate everything you do, everyday. And we appreciate everything you do." And I promised myself the first thing I will do when I get home is thank my parents. Dry eyes started tearing all around the room as we said our goodbyes to Mrs Maria and I gave her a hug.
She helped me realize what I was missing was my appreciation. So a quick blog shout out, Mom and Dad (and Maureen and Dennis :) ) if you are reading this, THANK YOU. I know at times it gets very hard to keep going to support our families, but not a day goes by that I don't appreciate everything you do for me and my sister. What we have now is more than what we'll ever need, and that's our love for one another. Thanks to the beautiful, inspiring women I have met on thus far on this delegation, I look at the world in a whole new way.
Off to the mountains! Bye Bye for now :)