Monday, April 11, 2011

Harris Honduras Update: Stories of Brokenness, Futures with Hope

 One of the objectives and ministries of Mercy International is to nurture and empower women.  Many of the males in Honduras (not that it is unique to Honduras only) are, quite frankly, pigs.  “Love ‘em & leave ‘em.”  Many women live with either abusive or unfaithful husbands.  Typically, the men provide the income and therefore have the leverage—“What are you going to do about it?  Leave me?  You can’t survive without me.”   If anything, the husband will leave his wife, because he wants less responsibility and more casual sex with a number of women. 

Consequently, many of the women are left destitute and terrified of the prospects of providing for their children.  Mercy International teaches women several different trades that generate income and now a number of women can provide for their families and have hope for the future.  Here are two skills that are being taught to local women who come to the mission-base and apply their newly-learned skills.

Women are taught to make beautiful baskets out of a natural resource—pine needles.  Honduras is covered with pine trees.  The needles drop, and these women gather these needles, form a “stalk,’ tightly wrap thread around that stalk and join another stalk to it and form a continuous stream of needles to create different baskets, etc.  They make their baskets, bring them to Mercy, and Mercy pays them for their work, and the mission, in turn, sells these baskets to people in the States.

Yesterday we interviewed several of the women involved in this project.  One woman stated, “I have 9 children and my husband left me. I had no way of providing for my family until I heard about Henry and Cindy Lowman (the directors of MI.)  Now I have hope for my family.” 

Another trade that is being taught is the craft of making fly-fishing jigs (if you’re not into fishing, think “lures.”  Mercy purchased some basic equipment and now teach women how to make these jigs that are then marketed in the states.   Upon learning either of these skills the women gain a sense of confidence and also become empowered to break out of the victim mode.  Prostitution no longer has to be option; now they can provide for their families.

In the process of learning a new marketable skill and meeting Christ-followers who are women of integrity many of these same women also become women of faith and in nearly every one of their stories gratitude is expressed to God for his love and for bringing people into their lives who have given them hope.

As I listened to their stories I silently wept.  Tears of sadness about their hard life, tears of thankfulness that they have a future.

And they're providing little guys like this the possibility of a hopeful future, too.

Be thankful for what and who you have.


Jessica M said...

What a beautiful organization you are a part of! I pray God blesses all of you as you bless and lift up the lives of suffering women and empower them, helping their children have brighter futures.
~blessings to all of you!

YogaSavy said...

There is a place here in India I think it is somewhere in the south where it is a Matriarchal Society. Very rare to find that in this country.
Imagine the joy and comfort you are providing for the children and mothers.
Love and Light always

Mary said...

Steve, this is an awful story of how a woman is so vulnerable to a man's power and threats. What a wonderful thing your mission is doing through teaching both skill and the Word of God. As I look at the picture of that little boy, I can't help wondering if he will be part of the generation that breaks the cycle of abuse, or will he fall victim to his father's ways.

Tim said...

Every person totally wrapped up in him/herself should read this every time you post.
I was also wondering about and hoping that little boy's life doesn't engender the same misogynist behavior of his forefathers. T

Steve said...

It is a privilege for the 2 of us to work with this ministry and play a small role in what they do. I, too, wonder and hope for the little boy.

alejandro guzman said...

Lovely handiworks.
It sounds like a harsh envorenment.


Finding One's Way said...

Your group is providing these women with a great chance in life. I admire what you are doing down there.

Jim said...

Really good to read this. Women in poor countries carry an unfair burden of looking after the children if the husband deserts or dies, often of Aids.
I wrote about the women's Ploughshare cooperative in Ethiopia teaching women, mainly prostitutes, craft or business skills to enable to rejoin their communities with an income generating skill. Love to see this sort of micro business venture. Wonderful work.

cath said...

As I catch up on my reads after 9 days without internet (!) I find myself reading your posts backward in order of dates posted, and each one is evoking a different emotion... wonderful posts, and I believe it is true that the women in most societies need the empowerment, because it is the women who bear the children and have the responsibility of raising them in most instances. Educate and empower the women, and you break the cycle of abuse/neglect. Very good the way, where can the baskets and lures be purchased? I am a collector of one and a user of the other. :D