The Footprint of Dusty Shoes
Trish Vaughan and Wayne Keeton are two people with big hearts for our indigenous women. They are part of our beloved Dusty Shoes team, which makes its annual trek through our mountains leaving beautiful footprints with their dirty shoes and beautiful memories with their hearts full of love. They are from Fredericksburg United Methodist Church and Shady Grove Methodist Church in Virginia, who have been sending teams since 1999. This year, the group built stoves and reforested 200 trees in the community of Paja in Nahualá, Sololá. Because of AMA’s limited resources, The group of women in this community waited six years for their application to be served, and they were overjoyed to have a Mission team join them in partnership! As more communities are seeing the positive impact of the implementation of AMA’s methodology and empowerment process, they are contacting us in hopes of organizing their own women’s circle, and we are actively seeking partners in Mission, like the Dusty Shoes team, to make it possible to make a greater impact in more communities with less wait time.
While the women of Pajá waited for a Mission partner to start building stoves in their community, they began the process of empowerment, meeting monthly in the community center to plan civic participation activities and talk about ways to work together to improve their community. All of this preliminary work set the tone for their week in partnership with the Dusty Shoes team, and as the team’s last day in the community came to a close, everyone was full of emotions, strongly demonstrated with hugs and words of thanks. Manuela, one of the community leaders, described her connection with the team best, saying that for the rest of their lives, they would watch their new trees on their land grow, always seeing the faces of those who planted them as a way to remember their friendship.