6 May

I’ll never forget the Tuesday morning I met Maria. Yes, most Tuesdays and Fridays have at least one “Maria” on my schedule, but this Maria grabbed my heart, mind and soul. She was a petite, golden brown-eyed Latina, dressed modestly and intently interested in things we discussed during her visit. One month shy of her sixteenth birthday, already the mother of a toddler, she asked if I had time to listen to something she needed to talk about.  I knew the women waiting to see me already filled the dust-covered plastic chairs and overflowed into the waiting room, but there was an urgency in her question.  “Sure, what is it?” I asked in Spanish, knowing that this definite connection had been forged by God for some reason.  “I want to finish high school and work in a clinic like this someday—is that too much to imagine, only a dream?”  Having spent over three years in the environment this Maria lives in, I knew that many would think that was an unattainable, ridiculous dream. Tears spilled out of her eyes, and mine misted over. This girl was determined and wanted reassurance. “No, I don’t think that is too big of a dream, and I believe you can do it.” A big smile lit her face and she hugged me. And then I smiled and asked to share my dream with her. Another dream that some might think as ridiculous. A dream I have of not being the one providing care to indigent women, but working myself out of job because someone from an impoverished barrio rose above the poverty and violence, imagined more, and became a provider who remained in the community instilling hope for other Marias, in barrios here in San Jose, and throughout Latin America.  

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