"Mary Wambui Wainain is 67 years old and mother of 13 children. According to Fr Felice Molino, a Salesian missionary in Nairobi, Kenya, she is always on the move. She runs for wood or water or grass for the cow. All her children have attended school up to the higher classes. Today, her daughter Paolina tells me that if I had not given them a hand, they would have reached third class at best." Mary is known by all for her goodness. When, for example, the village church was being built at the top of the hill, she ran several kilometres per day with a 20-litre can of water on her shoulders, up a steep path 1 km long, to bring water to the builders.
Karla is 35 years old. He lives in San Benito Petén, Guatemala, with her three children. Her husband left the family two years ago and Karla, who had always been the homemaker, was devastated. She did not know how she would support her children and felt guilty because of her husband's desertion. Looking after them meant long, hard work but with the help of Fr Giampiero de Nardi, SDB, she regained her self-esteem and found a job. Last year the Salesians gave her a scholarship and she started a course in pedagogy at the university. "Now she wants to be a teacher. She helps in all the activities of the parish. The children are the reason for her life," according to Fr de Nardi.
Finally, there is Bana Konda, mother of Memory and Silvia, two teenagers living in an orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia. She was well-known in her village, Luwingu, as she was always going around begging. Her children preferred to stay in the orphanage rather than with their mother. But after a year, her life changed. It was enough for the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians to give her a few pounds of bean seeds to restore her dignity and change her perception of herself and the world. Now she is always busy cultivating her field. "It takes so little to change a life!" concludes Sr Elisa Tonello, FMA.
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