Stories

My day with Marilin

The last couple of years have been very difficult for me after losing my beautiful mum. But it was she who encouraged me to visit Central America, something I had dreamed of for a long time. So six months after her passing, I packed my bags and set off, travelling first through Guatemala and Mexico, before making a stop in Honduras so I could finally meet the 13-year-old girl I had been corresponding with.

I have to say, I was pretty nervous, wanting to make a good impression. After a four hour drive accompanied by ChildFund Honduras staff, our journey ended in a small town at a local ChildFund office. I was overwhelmed. Outside this concrete building was a giant sign with my name on it! There were also over 20 ChildFund workers and volunteers there, all to welcome me!

When a young girl approached me, I knew it was Marilin. She came right up and gave me a hug and kiss. I couldn’t quite believe it. Then I met her mum and little brother and sister.

The local ChildFund staff and volunteers then introduced themselves one by one and I also received an overview of the various projects being run in the area.  I was absolutely blown away at the commitment of these people, who themselves are living and working in standards well below those of Australia and New Zealand.

ChildFund Honduras’s office welcome Daniela with open arms

Having scrubbed up on my Spanish, over lunch I was able to have a conversation with Marilin about school, her love of sports and what she would like to do in the future. I was amazed that as a 13-year-old she already knows she wants to go to university and study engineering.

After talking to Marilin’s mum, the daily challenges faced by the family became clear. Marilin’s mother is raising her children single-handedly, while also caring for her sick mother. For income, Marilin’s mum washes other people’s clothes in her home, completely by hand. The way of life in this region is so difficult to explain in words, despite my having been there in person. People work so hard, children work so hard. Many are not even able to attend school until they are 9 or 10 years old.

And yet, among the tired faces, you still meet beautiful people with big smiles, open hearts and natural curiosity, happy that you have come to see their country and hear their stories.

 

Daniela (centre) with Marilin (right), Marilin’s mother (left) and Marilin’s siblings.

I am forever grateful for the opportunity and the support from ChildFund to make this journey.

ChildFund plays a crucial role in not only supporting individual children (including building an educational foundation) but also their families and communities with their development programs. I would like to extend that support to ensure that Marilin not only continues to thrive within the ChildFund program, but can also create a brighter future for herself, family, community and country in the years to come.

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