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Doña María shows us what it means to be a good neighbor in this season of giving

Doña María (pictured center) with daughter Heidy, sons Axel and Ronald, and Rose and Charlie in 2015.

Doña María and her husband, Don Gustavo, a farmer, have five children and are a part of Common Hope’s family. Their daughter, Heidy is sponsored by Rose and Charlie McMurray of Burnsville, Minnesota.

Hanging on her wall in her two-room home, are multiple large 10-gallon pots. They are black on the bottom and have enjoyed significant usage. On a recent visit, Charlie noticed the worn pots. He could tell they were used often.

“What do you make in your big pots?” asked Charlie (through his translator for the visit Rosi Ramos, Sponsorship Manager in Guatemala).

“I make 100 tamales each week to sell in my village,” she replied. “I make about 100 at a time and I sell them for 3Q per tamale,” she explained.

Rosi, being from Guatemala, was quite surprised by the cost. Rosi knew she could charge double that price for her popular, delicious tamales.

“3Q? Usually tamales sell for 6Q or higher! Why don’t you charge more Doña María?” Rosi asked.

“The people in our village are poor. They don’t have much money. I do not charge more because I don’t want to make money from my poor neighbors,” Doña María replied, genuine and unrehearsed.

Doña María (pictured center) holding daughter Bayley, with daughter Heidy (left), sons Axel and Ronald, and Rose and Charlie on their most recent trip.

Rosi and the McMurray’s were struck. Here, in a situation where additional resources could make all the difference, Doña María and Don Gustavo were choosing to pay it forward, in one of the only ways they can. She was choosing to go without so that someone else could go “with.” The extra 300Q Doña María could earn would certainly go a long way in this family of seven.

Rose McMurray, put it so wisely in recalling the moment. “We were sitting there in her home looking around. Their house is very humble. It was overwhelming to hear her say that. The kindness and empathy she has….she’s just such a big-hearted person.” With a tear, she continued, “These are the people Common Hope is helping. They’re also making a difference in their own communities.” No matter how hard.

During this wonderful time of year, this spirit of the holidays is SO ALIVE! We’re grateful to be able to help families like Doña María and Don Gustavo’s. We are grateful for people like Rose and Charlie McMurray and people like Doña María. Doña María is a wonderful example for all of the world to emulate.

Many thanks to the McMurrays and to Rosi for sharing this story with us. And thank you to Doña María for being a wonderful example of kindness in the world. May we all be thankful for and generous with our gifts.


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