Dreams for Her Children: Dahlia and Kimberli's Story

March 10, 2017
Writing

Originally published March 1, 2016

Sandra has dedicated her life to ensuring that her children have bright futures. Vitamins give them the health they need to succeed.

A mother’s affection and pride radiated from Sandra’s face as she watched her two young daughters, Dahlia (2 ½) and Kimberli (7), play together outdoors in Bebedero, El Salvador. The sisters literally horsed around with each other, sharing a stuffed horse doll that their older brother had recently won at a fair for Dahlia.

Sandra instinctively kept an eye on her daughters as she talked to us. As a mother of five (her eldest boys are 22, 18, and 16), she said that she never feels alone with all of her children around her. She shared that parenting certainly comes with its stresses and challenges, especially considering her family’s extremely limited income (her husband works at a gas station). Regardless, she truly enjoys being a mother.

A deliberate focus on her family helps Sandra set aside her worries, whether that be drawing on a notebook and letting her daughters color the pictures she creates (one of their favorite pastimes), making them breakfast and dropping them off at school, ensuring that they all take their vitamins, or simply watching them play, as she did while talking to us.

As we spoke to Sandra, both of her girls were notably animated and energetic, a reflection of the benefits their mother received from taking vitamins herself. She happily shared that thanks to the combination of prenatal vitamins during her pregnancies, and vitamins for all five of her children throughout their lives, her children are bigger and more mentally alert than other kids in their area. She credits her family’s health to vitamins and a strict adherence to general hygienic practices, like washing one’s hands after eating, thoroughly cleaning dishes, avoiding mosquitoes, and staying away from standing water. She learned and adopted those essential tips from the health center in her community. Her and her husband’s efforts are not in vain; their children’s health and vivacity are testaments to their parents’ dedication and sacrifice.

Though the backyard in their home is too small to upkeep a garden, Sandra likes to cook with the foods she has available. The vitamins they receive help make up for any lack of nutrients in their diets. At the end of every day, the family shares dinner together (fish is the unanimous meal of choice); it’s their way of coming together and connecting after being apart during the day.

Despite the comfort she feels from her children’s presence, Sandra’s dreams for her children involve them leaving home eventually. Her greatest gift would be for her children to have it all:  for her daughters to attend university and for her sons to finish their studies and find good jobs. Though she’s unsure if they will have the resources to continue their education, she knows that her children have the health they need to succeed, even if the financial resources to accomplish their goals are not a guarantee. For any mother, raising healthy and happy children is an accomplishment in itself; for families like Sandra’s, who face daily challenges to stay healthy and thriving, such an achievement is monumental.

View the original piece and full photography at vitaminangels.org.

Photo credit: Sophia Billikopf for Vitamin Angels