Penny Karma project #1 = success!
With the trust and generosity of friends, family, and blog followers we raised money for a full month to send to Flor de Maria. Thanks to your donations, we end with a final sum of $230 to help pay for Flor’s future cleft palate repairs. From here an adventure began.
We were on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, a stretch that stole our full attention despite its not so rave-worthy infrastructure. In moments of lasting internet connection we touched base with Marlon, a wonderful teacher from San Pedro’s Cooperativa Spanish School who eagerly agreed to be a crucial part of, as he put it, our “gran proyecto humano” (our great human project). Marlon suggest that we send the gift safely his way through a moneygram location along with a letter to the family.
First we drafted a letter. This was not the easiest task for a couple of Americans slowly learning Spanish. We wrote with a dictionary and referenced class notes. In the message we told the family how fondly we remember our time in their home. We described how often we thought of their kindness and sincerity in the time after our stay, and how touched we were to have been welcomed into the lives of people who so clearly understand the power of love above all else. We wrote that we had shared Flor de Maria’s future surgeries with our friends, family, and even people who we don’t know personally who have been following our travels. It was with happy hearts that we shared the news that people from around the world had acknowledged how important Flor’s happiness and health are for their family by donating to this cause. We asked only that they keep baby Flor smiling.
Moneygram fought us at every turn. The locations nearby wouldn’t send money. We registered online and fought with internet signals and last-minute failed online applications. We kept traveling, meanwhile toiling over how, when, and where we could send the money. Finally, in Santa Marta, South America’s oldest living city, we took a taxi to a mysteriously located moneygram location.. without our required passport identification. Only after a full loop back around the city and a return with our backpacks in tow was the gift en route to Guatemala.
Emailing Marlon the code for pick-up was equally challenging from high in the Sierra mountains. Though the uncertainty made the moment we got word from San Pedro La Laguna on Guatemala’s magical Lake Atitlan that much richer. Marlon wrote first, telling his tale of finding only Andrea at home when he arrived on a Saturday afternoon. Andrea, Flor de Maria’s mama, often stays close mid-day as she maintains the home of seven. We could imagine the scene as Marlon described Andrea’s genuine surprise and appreciation. A couple days later we also received a message directly from Andrea which read:
Hola, Elissa espero que esten bien y que esten disfrutando de su viaje, por donde andan ahora? Hace unos dias recibimos una gran sorpresa en la casa porque Marlon nos visitó y nos dió un gran regalo de parte de ustedes, por el cual estamos muy agradecidos de todo corazon porque la ayuda economica nos sera de mucha utilidad de verdad mil gracias a todos sus amigos y austedes tambien, ya que este dinero sera de mucha ayuda para Flor de María, de parte de toda la familia, de Sebastian, Andrea y especialmente Flor de Maria muchas gracias nuevamente que Dios los bendiga a todos.
Muchos abrazos y saludos a toda la familia y especialmente a Daniel, esperamos noticias de ustedes muy pronto.
and in English, more or less:
Hello, Elissa I hope you are well and you are enjoying your journey, through where are you both traveling now? A few days ago we received a great surprise at the house because Marlon visited us and he gave us a great gift from you all, for which we are very grateful from all of our hearts because the financial help will be of much use. Truly, a million thanks to all of your friends and family also, as this money will be very helpful for Flor de Maria. From every part of the family, from Sebastian, Andrea and Flor de Maria especially, again thank you very much God bless you all.
Many hugs and greetings to all the family and especially to Daniel, we hope to hear from you soon.
We have since been emailing back and forth to Andrea and she couldn’t be more sweet, grateful, and deserving of the assistance that was delivered directly from your hearts to theirs. With the help of everyone who graciously gave some of their time to read the story and some of their own money to complete strangers, we all succeeded in changing the life of little Flor. She may never get to thank you in person, but know that she will certainly hear this story in the years to come and be thinking about everyone who helped make it all possible- with a smile on her face.
Thank you all so much for making this big first goal a success! Please consider further small donations to help fuel our idea and continue to make smiles along our journey while spreading karma around the globe.