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Remembering to Dream Big Dreams

Field Report by Dina Sleiman

PERU – Like many of us, Nadia had gotten caught in the daily grind of work and family and forgotten to dream bigger dreams. Each morning she would rise at 4am to sell fish, caught by her husband, at the local market. Throughout the day she prepared meals for her family, and she helped her children with their homework each night.

If she’d ever desired more for her life, those wishes had long ago faded away. Nadia hadn’t even finished secondary school, and she accepted her lot, along with the ten to fifteen dollars that she and her husband managed to earn each day to cover household expenses.

 Nadia rises early each morning to sell the fish her husband catches to earn money for their family.

Then she noticed a group of women—OBI Community Health Workers (CHWs)—working at a local preschool. “It drew my attention when my neighbors went to the preschool every week. I didn’t want to stay behind,” Nadia said.

She discovered that an educational program in her area run by Operation Blessing had trained these workers. The program provides weekly lessons on subjects like first aid, pre-natal care, infections, and other health issues.

Nadia enjoys her community health worker classes, where she feels like part of a family.

Although Nadia doubted she could achieve becoming a health worker herself, the opportunity stirred up her long forgotten dreams. Nadia’s mother had been a health worker in her own community. As a child, she had watched her mother give shots, measure blood pressure, and help those in need without expecting anything in return.

Nadia realized she wanted to do more with her life and become a part of a beautiful journey to helping others. So she decided to attend the CHW classes together with her neighbor Frida. Nadia said, “I came to OBI with the desire to learn and a hope that my children would feel proud of their mother.”

 Nadia takes a woman’s blood pressure. You can see her love of helping others on her face.

She felt welcomed and encouraged at the Community Health Worker classes. Nadia had thought she would never have another chance to study or to become part of a team of helpers. But over the next three years, she became empowered to provide medical care and wise counsel to those who need it most in her neighborhood. She said, “That part of helping others is amazing.”

Today Nadia happily lives out the dreams she had almost forgotten to have. “With OBI, I learned to lose fear and face everyday situations. OBI taught me not only workshops, but also to build a family, like my family of CHWs.”

From the Field