Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Profile in Strength: Ofelia Lara

Good Afternoon DHF Family,
As I sit at my desk and write this blog entry, there are over 40 loan recipients in the next room crocheting with Hope House Instructor, Rosario Yupanqui. This month’s product is a beautiful and very stylish “yamper” or jump suit. If you were to ask me, “Of all the women in the classroom, who stands out the most and why?” I’d have to say Ofelia Lara of Village Bank “Divino Niño” or “Divine Child.” Ten days ago in a tragic accident caused by the local electric company, Ofelia’s home (and everything in it) burned to the ground in a matter of minutes. Ofelia and her family were devastated and literally left with the clothes on their back.
Last Friday, I visited Ofelia at her home and found her in tears. Despite such a terrible loss, she was especially thankful for the outburst of community support that soon followed, specifically, donations collected by her village bank members, hot meals prepared by the local elementary school, and visits from strangers offering her strength and moral support. As a token of my support, I invited Ofelia to attend Hope House classes during the month of November free of charge and donated a few blankets and extra clothes tucked away in my apartment. She should have word if the electric company will cover all damages by next week.
Despite everything Ofelia has been through, like clockwork, she arrives at our Hope House classes at least ten minutes in advance with her same contagious laugh and cheesy jokes. Today she said to me, “Desi, my Hope House classes are my therapy. Besides making extra money, I get to spend time with my friends, laugh, and go home feeling rejuvenated and with the strength to carry on.” Often time it’s easiest to focus on the financial rewards that educational trainings provide our women. But it’s just as important to consider the emotional and spiritual rewards that are created from the important work we do every day.