There are so many people who contribute to Sharing the Dream by: Diane Nesselhuf
There are so many people who contribute, volunteer and help with Sharing the Dream that I hesitate to say anything about one person or group. Just know that we appreciate all of you. I do think periodically we should tell about what great things are happening because of someone’s donation.
I wanted to highlight my friend Jennifer from Colorado. Her donations not only are helping several young people and their families, but also a community’s health.
Sharing the Dream has worked with the Hospitalito in Santiago Atitlan for years. We pay so much per month for our elders to get their medical care at this hospital. About 8 years ago we sponsored an assistant nurse there to get her nursing degree. When she finished we were asked to collaborate with them to help their employees get more education. We started with Cristobal who came from a very humble family and started as a janitor at the hospital. He worked his way through middle school and high school by working at the hospital and gathering wood in the mountains to sell. He was very smart and the hospital needed a lab technician. Enter Jennifer, she paid for his schooling every year until he received his degree. He is now the head of the lab at the hospital. He is married and can support his family.
After Cristobal, Jennifer sponsored Juan. Juan went to school for 3 years to become an x ray technician, He has now graduated and is one of two doing x-rays at the hospital. The other man will be retiring soon. Juan has a family and is really proud of his accomplishments.
Both Cristobal and Juan have moved from poverty to the middle class.
This year Jennifer is sponsoring her third student. His name is Diego and he wants to be an emergency room/intensive care nurse. This will take at least 2 ½ years of school. They do not have anyone like this at the hospital and this is a special program. These students are like our other scholarship students. They work hard and still have to do their volunteer hours. They volunteer to do special health workshops out in the communities and also with our elders.
We always wonder if one person can make a difference. We have so many people that contribute and make a huge difference. Again, thank you to all of you.
What we think is a small amount can make a big difference in people’s lives in Guatemala
by: Keith Joy
The Trinity Lutheran Wednesday morning bible study/breakfast group has met in Vermillion for the last 30+ years; we meet every Wednesday for breakfast and study the lessons for the current week. From this group we have had groups that have done service projects in Vermillion, on the Pine Ridge reservation and helped with different projects at Outlaw Ranch. Last November one of the Guatemalan staff who operates out of the Sharing the Dream office in Guatemala, Jose Nesselhuf, came to the bible study. During the weeks that Miguel came to the group we learned about some of the work being done in Guatemala with scholarship students. We decided then that we would start taking an offering to help fund two young boys with Sharing the Dream in Guatemala. The group thought that we could probably collect maybe $600 during the course of a year, enough to sponsor two young 13 year olds. I am pleased to say that in the last 8 months, we have now collected more than $945, more than the amount to fund the two scholarships. This month we skyped the two young men and were able to see their eager faces as they told about their families and their hopes for the future. Since we were collecting extra money, the group has decided that we would also help support a young man who works as a tutor for the scholarship students. This young man is going to college part time, hoping to be a social worker when he graduates. It is really amazing what a group of people can do by adding a dollar or two to the coffee can every Wednesday morning.
The Power of Hearing the Story My friend Dave was on our trip last week. Here is his story...
I went to Guatemala at the invitation of Diane Nesselhuf, a high school classmate from 1968, along with two other classmates and our spouses. Diane invited us to see what she was doing in Guatemala and to show us the country and it’s people. Diane has been operating an NGO called “Sharing the Dream” in Guatemala for over 15 years. I knew little of this organization other than it was involved in helping the poor (primarily women) of Guatemala by marketing their crafts in the U.S.
I didn’t know what to expect from this trip other than it was an opportunity to explore a part of the world that I had not been to. What I experienced was trans-formative. What I experienced was the power of hope and validation that is present when you do something as simple as listen to one’s life story.
It took me about 6 days into our 9 day trip to finally “get this”. Diane had obviously discovered this power long ago, because everyday we took the time to hear the stories of those involved in the many projects that “Sharing the Dream” supports (the schools, the scholarships, the orphanage, the elder center, the artisans).
This was no small thing as language barriers make sharing the story difficult. Before our trip, I thought Spanish was the only language spoken in Guatemala. In reality, there are many languages spoken by the indigenous people, and only a few of them know Spanish.
So with our interpreter we visited people in their small huts or shops and saw first hand how they lived and what they did… and heard their story. Sometimes we struggled to stay awake (after lunch) as we listened to long dialog in a language we did not understand…waiting for our interpreter to share with us the story.
We Americans for the most part are “fixers”. We see conditions in developing countries and we want to fix them. We want to build them something…a church…a house…a new roof…a new wall. But do these efforts really validate those we are trying to help? Perhaps, but maybe listening to their stories validates them more than a new roof…maybe it gives them hope by a power we don’t even begin to understand.
As a child I remember hearing the account of the poor old woman in the market who touched the hem of Jesus’s garment as he walked by. And Jesus felt the power go from him. And she felt the power of healing flow to her.
I never understood this story…until now.
I finally “got it” while listening to a young man’s story. He was thanking us for taking the time to honor him by listening to his story. He wanted us to know how important this was to him…how it validated him…how it encouraged him to continue his education and to pursue his dreams. “Sharing the Dream” was giving him, not a one-time gift of something, but an on-going opportunity to improve his life, and an opportunity to help others in their efforts to improve their lives.
Such a small part of “Sharing the Dream”… all I did was listen, and put myself in a position to get touched…and in doing that I felt the power of the Spirit flowing…and I know that those who I touched also felt the flowing of that power because they said so in so many ways.
“Sharing the Dream” is involved in so many ways in Guatemala that I could not begin to explain it in a few words. And in all of those ways, what I saw was that it is developing people…it is providing an opportunity for people to help themselves... it is validating people for who they are right now…it holds people accountable, but it is not demeaning or superior…it is seeing God in each person…it is on-going, not a one-time effort…it is self-sustaining…it is a worthy organization…and I am proud of my friend Diane and her husband Ed for all they have put together and are helping to sustain. They “get it”.
Now I’m back in my world of ten thousand creature comforts, and way too much living space, pondering my experience of being touched and wrestling with what to do with it.
Friends of the Sharing the Dream in Guatemala is a 501(c)(3) organization under the IRS Code. Your donations are tax deductible.