She has seen more than most, given up more than most, this powerful woman before me with tears in her eyes. I do not understand her language and so I wait for the interpretation that will reveal the words behind the tears. And before I hear English my own tears have already started to fall. When the translation reaches me, I am speechless.
She had the good life: enough money and a comfortable home. And yet her heart broke for those in her city who had little and so she sought reform. She let her heart drive her towards helping those less fortunate. And because of her love for her people, she was branded a traitor.
This loving mother, this God-fearing activist, this giving soul before me, is a wanted person. Leaving her family with only a backpack, she hid in the shadows until she could escape.
“Horrible” she said.
That word I understood. Her story travels from Venezuela to Miami and then to Dayton, fighting through hunger to keep a roof over her family’s head. Starting over in a new world, she found that, for the first time, she had to rely on the helping hands of others. Food from churches and pantries and the kindness of strangers gave her the strength to walk the miles to work each day.
Today, she is the one helping those in need. Her story of resilience, kindness and helping her fellow man will leave you breathless.
And as I listen, I am reminded that this is why I do this work: to bring Mariela’s story to you.
Over the next 5 weeks, Mariela and I will be working together to cross the language barrier to bring to you a compelling story for the stage. I have never done this before. And neither has she. But we both know the impact. We both want you to hear the story.
So, support the stories. Buy a ticket. Sponsor the event.
Mariela is one of half a dozen storytellers that will be on stage on Thursday, May 9th 2019 at the LORE Mainstage event at in Dayton OH. And I can assure you, you will not want to miss a single one of them.