Country Proverb: Dominican Republic
Written by Plant With Purpose on June 25, 2015 in Proverb
By Ben Held
“Mientras hay vida, hay esperanza”
Translation: “While there is life, there is hope”
We have all experienced the twists and turns that make our lives both fulfilling and frustrating, baffling and breathtaking. Few things remain constant in our ever-changing world, but hope endures. It carries us forward even when the current of our lives seems to be flowing against us, and as long as we live we have the chance to build a better future—for our communities and ourselves.
It is with this conviction that Plant With Purpose partners with farmers across six countries. Restoring life to local land, developing savings groups, and fostering community growth programs all help plant seeds of hope that grow for generations. More often than not, as the proverb goes, our partners hoped for change throughout their lives. Though change is difficult to realize alone, together we can turn future hopes into present realities.
For Gregoria Suero in Castaño, life was not easy: her parents wanted her to help out on their family farm, and never let her attend school or visit study centers. Gregoria could not read or even write her name. She felt ashamed when she needed to show her identity card because it bore three crosses in place of her name. But throughout this life of hardship, Gregoria continued to hope for a chance to study.
Plant With Purpose partnered with Castaño as the country developed a national program to increase adult literacy. Local churches distributed writing materials and notebooks supplied by Plant With Purpose and invited nearby residents to enroll in the program. Gregoria says that choosing to participate was one of the best decisions she’s ever made. Her first stop after learning to write her name? The Central Electoral Board, where citizens can change the name listed on their identity card.
“When I was changing the card I couldn’t wait for the person in charge to tell me, ‘Madam, write your signature here.’ When they called me I walked quickly with joy to the counter and told them, ‘Now I can.’”
Gregoria no longer worries about those three crosses that stood between her and her dreams. She loves writing grocery lists that her children and grandchildren take to the store. She reads in her spare time. She thanks everyone that helped make her dreams come true. Gregoria is living proof that while there is life, there is always hope. Though we may not have faced the struggles Gregoria has, it is nonetheless a blessing to take part in her victory over them.
Plant With Purpose endeavors to change lives through community enrichment programs similar to those in Castaño. Read another perspective on empowerment through literacy, or help us continue these programs and Plant For Tomorrow.