October 11, 2019
On a normal morning in Villanueva, a municipality outside of San Pedro Sula in Honduras, Merary Majado opens the doors to her home– not for visitors, but for business. Lines of shoes are carefully organized on her windowsill, and before she’s been able to settle into the day, customers arrive.
For Merary, her days start way before it’s time to open for business. “A day in my life is waking up at 5:30 in the morning to begin cleaning. When the children wake up I have to bathe them, change their diapers…,” she says. Though what sounds like an ordinary morning for some mothers, has been Merary’s reality for 20 years. Her children Jeffrey and Ayana are 20 and 18, but both were born with spina bifida, a birth defect in which their spinal cords failed to develop properly in the womb. Jeffrey has an ulcer that needs to be cleaned every day, and both kids rely on having clean diapers to wear.
Before opening her business from home, Merary would be gone all hours of the day cleaning homes, only to come back with $5 a day. “I had to leave my kids in dirty diapers because I couldn’t clean them until I left and got paid a little to clean houses. It was hard because many times they saw me cry; they saw me in despair because I didn’t know what to do and I felt alone because I didn’t have support from other people.”
Also a widow, Merary said her days used to be so hard that she often wondered what someone else in her shoes would have done. There were days paying the bills was impossible, and times where the kids were even left without food. “It’s very tough because a lot of the time I felt guilty because I couldn’t give them everything that I wanted to. The only thing that gave me strength is that they never complained; they never asked “why am I here in this chair?”
Merary first heard about Soles4Souls through her church, when a group came in to do a free distribution. Later, Raul Carrasco, a Soles4Souls partner in Honduras, came to her home to talk about becoming part of the shoe program.
Five years ago, Merary says she never would have imagined where she and her family are now. She’s able to work from home and be close to taking care of her children. She also sells shoes through Facebook, WhatsApp, and does promotions through her church. She says she now has dreams that she feels she can actually fulfill. Her attitude has completely changed around her children, and the atmosphere at home is more joyful and relaxed.
On a recent visit, Merary stood tall, hands on hips, with a wide smile in front of her home and business. “There’s hope now that little by little, things are going to get better, that tomorrow I’ll want to do something and I can do something,” she says.