By Rosita Saldarriaga
Becoming the mother of a five-year-old girl changed my life. I began to see life differently, in fact, now I have a stronger reason to live. My reason’s name is Alma and she calls me mom.
It has not been easy to fulfill this role, you are never prepared, even more so when you are 20 years old; however, my girl was a blessing to my family.
Discovering motherhood through her eyes has given me the best lessons and without a doubt has made me a better person. Motherhood has allowed me to understand the phrase “When you are a mother you will understand,” which my mother used to tell me so much.
With Alma, in addition to a daughter, I have a companion and she surprises me every day. She is a wonderful, independent, and brave girl.
Being a young mother also multiplied my roles as a student, wife, friend, caretaker and as a social action volunteer for the Manta City Hall, where my husband is an employee of the Mayor.
My days are crazy. Some days are more challenging than others, but as a team (Alma, Agustín and I) we are always able to accomplish what we set out to do. Of course not without the help of Alma’s grandparents and friends as well though. Last Christmas we launched the Cheering Hearts campaign, which consisted of collecting the largest amount of candies and toys for the children in the neighborhoods of Manta.
Those days were like running a marathon. We would get everything ready at home, go out to the neighborhoods, collect donations, put together the candy bags, then hand them out. In the middle of it all I was about to graduate as a lawyer, took care of chores in the house, and trained everyday. Sometimes Alma accompanied us, other days she couldn't and she stayed with my mother-in-law or my parents.
We would finish the marathon days at dawn and start the next day at the same pace. These were exhausting days but the best reward was getting to see the smiling faces of the little boys and girls who received their toys.
My biggest challenge in the midst of everything in motherhood is not missing important moments in my daughter's growth. Even though she has a thousand things going on we never want to miss a moment of her life. We strive to always be there for her because we live and work for her. As parents we want to leave a better city for her to live in just as we want for the children we serve in the City of Manta.
Rosa Victoria Saldarriaga Solis
Volunteer of Social Action City Hall of Manta