If you’ve been keeping up with us, our last blog post was about Mariela, the young lady who is putting herself through law school on weekends while working weekdays on the coffee farm. Turns out, Mariela inherited her work ethic and intelligence from her mom, Maria del Carmen.
Maria del Carmen's first dream in life came true at 12 years old when she got her first ever pair of shoes. Raised by loving but deeply impoverished parents, she never had an opportunity for an education and began trekking five hours daily with her siblings to try to sell eggs or corn and hopefully be able to survive to the next day.
Maria del Carmen has always considered herself to be a woman with a warrior spirit. Hard-working and determined, she taught herself to read and write as a teenager. But as a single mother with no education, she had only known unemployment or extremely hard labor for a meager wage most of her life.
Her story began to change when she and her daughter, Mariela, became part of the Mission Lazarus family where they work on the San Lazaro Coffee Farm.
Maria del Carmen grew up in a Christian home, but as an employee at the coffee farm, she has drawn even closer to Christ. She has realized another dream, too. Several years ago, a group of five men hiked up in the mountains and camped for a week to help Maria del Carmen's family build a house. Now she and Mariela own their own home and are able to provide a little support to her parents from their earnings at the farm.
Maria del Carmen is a great source of inspiration to her daughter and to the 19 other women she considers family who work with her at the San Lazaro Coffee farm. We hope her spirit inspires you today!
As the youngest of seven siblings, Nohelia comes from humble beginnings. Her father was physically abusive to her mother, and when she was quite young, her parents separated. As a result, Nohelia and her siblings were raised by her single mother and her maternal grandmother.