As we walked through the streets of Nuevo Renacer, we carried food for a meal, that would be feeding a family, who potentially had not eaten for days. Upon our arrival, our concern was how sweaty we were inside her home, but Kaleva’s concern was making us feel welcome and comfortable. Kaleva shared her life story with us, but continued to stay positive and show us her beautiful smile. Her story was shocking but we listened; excited to be an attentive ear. Kaleva suffers from diabetes and fails to meet the demands of her expensive medication and food. Four months ago, Kaleva’s husband past away from diabetes and in addition, her youngest son has been diagnosed with it as well. To make sure her son would receive the medicine and food he required, Kaleva was forced to give her daughter away to an orphanage so she could have a better life; a decision Kaleva regretted to make after being raised in a very similar way.
Mothers around the globe make sacrifices for their children everyday, but Kaleva’s circumstance was definitely extreme. Stephanie, Kaleva’s daughter, was the only female child of the family. Kaleva shared stories about Stephanie and how she was the happiest girl and that everyone in the community loved to be around her. Stephanie visits her mother and brothers once a month. She was proud to tell us that Stephanie would of been over joyed to meet us that day, a comment that left our hearts full. Among these stories of Stephanie, there was no doubt Kaleva loved her unconditionally and it still tears her heart to know the best thing to do for her family was to send her daughter away from them.
We later returned to visit Kaleva and her boys to say goodbye and bring her a Spanish-English dictionary as she had shown interest in wanting to learn English. To our great surprise, Stephanie was visiting that day. We felt so honored and priveledged to get to meet this amazing young girl who lived up to her Mother’s high description of her. She was very friendly and outgoing and full of smiles. Her two brothers played it cool, but were very obviously happy to have their sister back for the day.
Although we got to meet Stephanie, we were frustrated and saddened by the fact that Kaleva and her family’s situation could have potentially been prevented within different conditions. With some health care and an increase in their daily nutritional intake, the outcome could have had the potential to turn out differently. Although we felt these negative emotions, Kaleva’s positive attitude and courage overpowered them. This left us with a sense of honour to be invited into such a beautiful woman’s home. We will never forget the afternoon that Kaleva brought us such joy among such a sad story. Kaleva was able to share with us that no matter where you live, a true mother is someone who loves you unconditionally.