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Gotitas de Amor

Meg Sondey
Torreon Coahuila Mexico
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 40 No. 5, October-November 2004, p. 115.

I have been a Leader in Ohio, USA for about eight years, and Lucia Stone, who began attending LLL in Chicago when she lived there, became a Leader in Mexico. Several years ago she and her family moved back to the United States. For a while we both talked and thought about creating an LLL Group for Spanish-speaking mothers. It was finally in 2003 that we began in earnest! I speak no Spanish (that’s changing, as now I’m moving to Mexico), but I did know how to start a new Group. Lucia knows Spanish, as well as the culture of Mexico, but had never been a Leader in the United States. Between us, we started a Group to reach out to a growing Spanish-speaking population (mostly Mexican) in Lake County, Ohio.

We are the first Spanish language Group in Ohio. But there are at least two other bilingual Spanish-speaking Leaders in other parts of the state and we hope to encourage them (and others) to use their language abilities to help mothers in their areas or through email.

We have discovered that there is a lack of accurate information about breastfeeding, birth, and parenting among individuals and agencies who interact with Spanish-speaking mothers in our community. In addition, in some instances, there is little awareness that mothers and families can make choices about their health care. Despite the fact that the expense of long-distance telephone rates limits calls, Lucia has helped several Spanish-speaking mothers. Many of these mothers were successful at breastfeeding while in Mexico, yet have faced breastfeeding challenges in the United States because of cultural differences, lack of appropriate breastfeeding assistance in Spanish, and difficulty with navigating the birth and health care systems here. We are successfully serving as a source of accurate and complete information and support on both mothering and breastfeeding.

Reaching out to the community is a continuing challenge, but we are up to it! We have begun meeting at the rectory of St. Mary’s Church in Painesville, Ohio, USA. The pastors there have a Spanish language service at 6 pm every Sunday, and we meet after the service once a month. We are putting posters in stores that serve the Spanish-speaking community and are doing a bilingual mailing to those hospitals and physicians whom Spanish-speaking mothers and families utilize. We are also in contact with WIC (Women, Infants and Children, a US food supplement program) offices in several counties and are in the process of obtaining publicity in a bilingual publication that reaches out to the Spanish-speaking community in our general area.

Take Your LLL Group to the Conference!

Leaders, here is a special way the Group you lead can be part of the 2005 LLLI Conference! Take a picture of the Group members for display at the LLLI Conference and International Mastery Symposium (IMS). It might be a snapshot at a meeting or from your Celebration of Breastfeeding during World Breastfeeding Week. It could also be from a Group picnic or other fun event. Please remember to obtain "permission to publish" from the individuals in the photo. Please send your photo to Cindy Garrison, 115 White Way, Canonsburg, PA 15317 USA.

You can also bring your photo with you to the Conference and give it to Cindy there! The photos will be displayed so that you can take a picture with your picture to bring back for those Group members unable to attend. We hope to fill the walls with photos!

Meg Sondey and her husband, William Hines, are parents to Evangeline (13) and Jacob (12). Meg is a Communication Skills Instructor and currently leads with the Torreon Group in Coahuila, Mexico. She says, "When I worked with Lucia Stone to get Gotitas de Amor started, I had no idea that in mid-2004 I would be moving to Mexico!"

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