by Jodi Baker
Jodi visited Guatemala on a Vision Team in November with the company she works for, Sign Zone. The team was led by Ed Flaherty, honorary board member of Common Hope and owner of Sign Zone.
When I returned to work after my trip, there was an adopt-a-family cause set up in our cafeteria. It was for a single mother of 26 with three children. A board listed the items that were needed for the family: household items, clothing, toys for the kids. One item was a vacuum cleaner. Someone said, “do you really think she wants a vacuum cleaner for Christmas?” A person replied, “well yes, she has nothing.” I couldn’t help to think of what having nothing really means. In some cases, in Guatemala, nothing really does mean nothing.
Every year at Thanksgiving my brother and his wife prepare a meal that is unbelievable! This year I found it even a little appalling as dish after dish after dish was brought to the table. The meal required two side board tables and a bench to hold all of the different dishes, gravy, rolls . . . must I go on? One small spoonful of each dish was more than one person should eat in a single meal. It was difficult to think of the Guatemalan families and their lack of food, nutrition and education.
During the Thanksgiving meal, our family tradition is to have each person at the table talk about what they are thankful for. This year I gave thanks to Common Hope and Ed Flaherty. Without generous people like Ed and focused organizations like Common Hope who are dedicated to a good cause, Maria Susana would not be sleeping in a home with a cement floor. Even that sounds strange to say, but at least she is off of the dirt. I am amazed at what Ed has contributed in time, money, and perhaps most important, a message of hope. He is fortunate to have an organization like Common Hope to do the work he is passionate about, and the ability to see the results each time he visits. I will be forever grateful.