The house and yard are well-manicured, perhaps better cared for than any seen in the village.
There is a charm and beauty that does not often show itself in areas oppressed by poverty.
The cleanliness and order bring with it a sense purpose and peace, a relief from the circumstances that surround this home.
In every detail you can see that someone spends their time and energy to maintain the simple charm of this home to nourish beauty around them.
Elmedina is a testament to the ability to make the best of your circumstances, to overcome your struggles and to continue pressing on despite continual and persistent adversity.
Elmedina lives with her son Pedro. They pay rent by caring for the home in which they live. Pedro never finished school, but works in masonry and brings home what he earns to care for himself and his mother.
In comparison to many, Elmedina and Pedro fair well financially, but that is just a part of Elmedina’s story. As quickly catches the eye, Elmedina suffers from a significant medical problem.
For 25 years she has suffered with a painful goiter in her throat. In the last two years it has become more inflamed. She takes thyroid pills, but it has done little to provide relief. In any first world country, this is an issue that would be quickly resolved with a surgery, but for Elmedina, that is not an option. Instead it is a constant reminder of the discomfort and lack of resources that poverty yields.
Her medical problems and lack of resources are only a part of Elmedina’s story. Elmedina has known severe loss, loss that can be crippling if one allows it to be. Elmedina is a mother of 10, but only Pedro remains with her. While several of her children have made their own lives, one of her daughters was taken, when she was just born, by her former partner and never seen again. Another child died at birth, and one at only 9 months old from meningitis. A third died at age 29 after he was crippled by and eventually succumbed to mental health struggles.
Though a story of tragedy, Elmedina has instead chosen to make her story one of beauty and reprieve. She stands as an inspiration to keep moving forward, to keep trying and to spread goodness as you do.
Emeldina passed away in November, 2019.
Written by Shalyce Cluff; Photography by Jose Miguel Amaya
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