Food For The Poor staff photographer Hilda Perez writes about the resilient spirit of the mothers we serve.
On Mother’s Day we set aside a time to honor mothers. I’m fortunate to still have mine, the center of my universe, but this day of honor can be difficult for those who have lost their mother, who have an ill mother, or for those who grew up without a mother. It doesn’t matter what age or circumstance, but the loss of a mother or a parent, seems to be one that leaves your heart ripped open like an earthquake fault with a hurt so deep it becomes a quiet, permanent ache.
When I travel to the countries we serve at Food For The Poor, there are many themes to be found among those struggling daily with extreme poverty. But for me, one theme has always emerged consistently and apparent, and that is the resilient spirit of the mothers and their sheer resourcefulness. I often encounter the truest testaments of faith, devoid of any material consideration or attachment, and the purest expressions of love, spirituality, endurance and devotion.
Often, the obvious care and love we are conditioned to expect and see is there, which is why I selected these photographic moments of mothers with their children. But what I cannot always transcend and often goes unseen in these photographs, are the daily choices, the sacrifices, the dreams, the desperation; moments of determining how to feed a child or provide safety and shelter, water, education… and all the while, I see these mothers sweeping dirt floors, rationing food, sometimes skipping meals themselves so the children eat, sectioning what little water they may have for washing the child’s hands , rummaging through dumps to provide a toy or shoes, reinforcing faith and teaching and praying with the children, mothers, sharing what little they have with other neighbors in need…
I could go on and on with this list…but on this Mother’s Day, let’s honor the commonality we all share, in the wishes and dreams, heartaches and challenges we all face, be it in the form of your own mother, mother nature, a grandmother, the mother of God, a man serving in the role of a mother or, as I hope these photos to convey, a mother in a distant place. l am thankful for my mother, our generous donors and beneficiaries, colleagues, friends and family. Together let’s celebrate, the best embodiment of humanity and love: a mother.