God, I can take care of people, if you will take care of my kids.
That is the deal I made with God when I was a single mother, raising three children, and working in rural villages of Guatemala. I was a young woman trying to start a social business that would provide opportunities for rural women who were mothers – like me – to have a source of income that would make their dreams a reality.
Mothers and their children – in so many ways are a part of so many different aspects of Wakami.
What started me on my journey was seeing a mother having to bury a child because her refugee camp didn’t have a $5 IV saline solution. I saw that, after the war, it would no longer be the war killing children, it would be the poverty and famine. To see the pain in those mothers is what made me want to do something.
I believe women, whether we have children or not, are wired in a way in which life comes through us. I believe this makes us different . . . we see things differently . . . we feel things differently . . . we feel for others very easily.
So it’s not strange that Wakami was born out of the inspiration to create opportunities for mothers in Guatemala; to help women be able to raise healthy and educated children. If you know Wakami, you know this is at the heart of what we do.
Another aspect of motherhood I see in many women is one I know well: having work take me away from my children. As a single mother, dividing my time between going to villages and working to build my business, raising my children was a challenge. I never felt I could strike that “healthy balance.” I had to work, because I also needed a source of income, like the women I worked with. I also felt that part of being a Guatemalan was to help build a country that would give mothers the opportunity to raise healthy and beautiful children. This meant I would sometimes not see my children much. (Ana mentioned this in her post about Convivio.) The only way I found peace was by making a deal with God. I told God “If you take care of my kids, I can take care of your people”.
Needless to say, God overdid it. First, a big lesson I learned is that people did not need for me to take care of them. They needed for me to work alongside them, especially as we all became empowered by our work. God, though, kept his promise to me. My kids are all more wonderful than I ever could have imagined.
As we sit in quarantine with my three kids, Tefi, Ana, and Nico, I could not be more proud or more grateful. The time we did not have together when they were growing up, we are making up for now in this time of quarantine. The way they have wrapped around me these days is priceless. My husband is in quarantine in another country, and my children have eased my loneliness with their devotion to me. To be able to have time to feel their hearts is a beauty I have discovered in this time of so much uncertainty.
I am proud of the work each of my kids (grown adults now) does. All of them are wonderfully successful. I remember how hard it was to send my kids to school, to college, to a masters . . . even if I had support from others. My goal was to give them an education that would open the world to them.
In Wakami now you are beginning to see the work of one of children, my daughter, Ana. She is designing products for Wakami now. Never did I imagine all that would come back to me, to the villages and to Wakami. To see Ana’s talent in designing products, in making drawings and prints, in collaborating with women in villages to make beautiful products is beyond expectations . . . Ana has art in her spirit.
Life is beautiful indeed… and to think we as women are the channel for it.
Happy Mother’s Day!