While attending the United Nations Habitat 3 Convention in Ecuador as part of the Big Ocean Delegation, I was at the door during the pro family groups' presentation when two native Ecuadorian women quietly entered the room.
I noticed that they only spoke their native language, Spanish, and I volunteered to interpret for them. They were very interested in the message and took notes of each one of the presentations. At one point, they seemed preoccupied with the time. When I asked them if they were in a hurry to return to the hotel, they informed me that the hotel was too full and they didn't have any more rooms available for them. They needed to find a place to stay before dark. It was dark already, and the city did not look like a safe place for two lost women.
After discussing the situation with our leaders and with the approval of our kind host, we invited them to stay with us at the hotel. The days that followed were full of discoveries, miracles, and testimony that God is aware of our difficulties and challenges.
Magdalena and Anita came from very small villages in the middle of the Amazon jungle. They traveled for many days, walking, by bus, and by a small plane with capacity for only three people.
Magdalene lives in a bigger village (Aldeia) and her purpose in participating in Habitat III was to bring awareness of her people. She sought direction to increase productivity and also the right to sell their products directly to the market instead of having an intermediate. She was also looking for a way to create a school for the village's children and to establish a church in their community. She was a determined woman, full of faith and hope. She knew that many people were depending on her.
Anita lives in a more distant and smaller village. She said that as a child, an evangelical pastor came to their village and he taught them from the Bible, "but it was written in Spanish," she says, "and we did not know Spanish, only our native language." At twelve years old, Anita, accompanied by a 15-year-old friend, decided to walk to the nearest city, which was five days walking distance. She didn't tell her family about it, and they thought she had been eaten by a wild animal, or by a boa/python snake. She stayed in the city for seven years and then returned to her village, fluent in Spanish. Anita was also looking for better conditions so her people could be self sufficient. She is a very determined and courageous woman.
Both women left their villages in search of hope for their people. With very little money and food that would last a maximum of two days, they were looking for miracles, and, sure enough, they found them. They not only received accommodation, transportation and food but also friends and hope.
It was time for all of us in the Big Ocean Delegation to return home, and we embraced them and gave the most valuable gift we possess a testimony of our belief in God. We sang "God Be with You Till We Meet Again." Tears fell freely on the faces of all present, no one could deny that God is mindful of ALL his children. Many hugs were given and the promise that their prayers for help would not be forgotten.
Written by Vilma Sagebin
Big Ocean Translator