Where there is no vision, there is no hope.-George Washington Carver 1864-1943, American Scientist
When the candidate families arrived for a first visit at the Somos Village, I reflected on what they might have hoped to find. Our social worker, Lucy, had previously informed them about the structural layout, the programs and some of the Somos principles of empowerment, but after that, what was the mother’s hope for themselves and their children?
I have observed over the past years there is the undeveloped ability in many here to imagine or envision a future. This can be a disability to change one’s negative circumstance of poverty, sickness, or trauma. Can we see our selves as self-sufficient, healthy or free of fear?
When the mothers arrived, I saw the signs of the trauma of poverty, beyond the cultural cordialities. I saw the indicators of poor nutrition in the mother’s and children. Not like they chose to eat a mono diet of corn or even knew it was a factor in the stunting of children’s growth.
Part of our educational work here is to offer a brighter vision of the future for the mothers and children. Not only to demonstrate a vision for a better living circumstance, but enter into the vision for their positive personal development. To be a parent that is patient and loving with effective tools to raise a healthy child. And children are encouraged to become creative, playful and confident in their learning.
Project Somos offers hope that mothers and their children can rise to become happy, healthy and productive citizens of Guatemala. Hope that they can rise out of poverty and heal the traumas of violence. Hope they can raise children to become intelligent and compassionate adults. Hope that they are worthy of love, affection and respect.
I believe the hope Somos holds for our mothers and children and offers to them is not a gullible optimism, but grounded in a realistic outlook. I have witnessed their personal transformative journey in the past year. Their health, life skills, openness, and self-acceptance have all improved. These steps are the beginning of the realization of their comprehensive hope for a better life for their family.
You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for our own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful. –Madame Marie Curie 1867-1934, Polish-born French Physicist