The Giver

December 13, 2009
By Nathan Ressler BRONZE, Westfeld, Indiana
Nathan Ressler BRONZE, Westfeld, Indiana
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

A person does not have to have superpowers, have super strength, or be able to leap buildings in a single bound to be a hero. Heroes do not have to come from fictional places like Gotham City or Krypton to be great. They can come from anywhere, any time, or any place to be considered a hero, or heroin in this case. They can even come from some of the most deprived places, such as a lonely town of Guatemala. From a dusty town outside of Guatemala City, or La Ciudad de Guatemala, came a woman whose determination to succeed and personal triumphs in life paved the way for her to come to a whole new country and prevail against enormous odds to thrive here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. My heroin’s skin resembles soft leather, worn, but still full of life, tanned from working in the blazing sun with short, chocolate –brown hair and eyes, dark brown, but flooded with exhilaration. Later, she offered back to those in need, whom others and forgotten, and she made it an obligation, through her generosity, to give instead of take. This heroin is a person, that has overcome many things to get this far, and she still works immensely hard at everything she does. This is Nancy B., a woman, and very good family friend, who worked incredibly hard; someone who remembered, later on, who gave her life, fortitude, and a perseverance to succeed.
Nancy was born in 1971 to a relatively unprivileged family just outside Guatemala City. In the hot, steamy jungles to the shimmering waters of the Atlantic Ocean, this family lived, moving several times in only a few years. One year later, a baby boy named Mario, her brother, was born. From being a small child, she grew up without her parents, who had moved without them to the United States. Nancy lived with an uncle whom was nice enough, but they had to work incredibly hard, even being a girl, to earn a meager income. She worked, babysitting for many different families, just to make ends meet. In Guatemala, schools were almost only private with uniforms to those who could afford them. Mario and Nancy went to two separate schools, and Nancy did extraordinarily well, passing all classes with flying colors. When she was ten years old, however, everything changed. On Halloween day, 1981, she and her brother moved to Chicago, Illinois, where her parents lived. For ten years, all that she spoke was Spanish. Now, though, she had to become fluent in English, and fast! “The language barrier”, she says, “Was the hardest thing to overcome about coming here. It was like, for instance, you were moved to Africa all of a sudden.” In the beginning, she had no friends whatsoever, and virtually nobody that Nancy could communicate with effectively. Despite all of this, she hurdled the barriers within a couple of years, slowly becoming accustomed and she began making friends. Even so, Nancy says that she loved America. She says that the very best thing about the new country were the snow and the cleanliness. “Snow was a novelty…something weird…something that I had never seen before in Guatemala.” The cleanliness of America was astounding to her. Even in downtown Chicago, known for being dirty, was much cleaner than Guatemala. “There,” she answer, “were trash cans lying in the streets, the roads were filthy, and nobody ever cleaned it up.” Her younger life, although incredibly difficult and one of the hardest times, Nancy made it through unscathed, and a hero in the making.
Nancy’s childhood molded her into becoming a hero in several ways. She learned mainly, though, to never give up despite growing up with neither of her parents, worked to the bone to earn only a small amount of money, and coming to a whole new country, leaving everything behind, to start afresh. Even though she “almost died” in school, without any classes such as English as a New Language that we now take for granted, she persevered and even loved her new life in the United Sates. She loved every taste of it, from the crisp, new-fallen snow to the vibrant autumn leaves, all of which we expect every day. Being a hero to someone is special, and she definitely made the cut into being a hero from the time she was fifteen years old. The rest of her life, although extraordinary, does not compare to Nancy’s willpower and resilience that she showed here as a kid. Nonetheless, the rest of her life was grueling as well.
After high school, Nancy graduated, and she went to the University of Illinois to study Psychology. Here, while achieving her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Social Work, she met a man by pure chance. This man, Dean, was quite different than Nancy. He was a math and science person while she was on the other side of the prism in Literature classes, psychology, and social work. They actually only met because they applied for a job at a café on the same day at the same time. After college, they were married and moved to the sunny state of California. Now, after everything that she remembered about her life in Guatemala and the unparalleled difficulties that she was faced with and others that she met along the journey, she decided to give back to the generous people of this world that led her to success. Walking down the streets of California, she remembers seeing many people that she could tell were not happy, depressed, homeless, or jobless. Using her available skills, she made it her profession to help those in need by becoming a social worker. Nancy says that this, although sad, was one of the greatest experiences of her life, the ability to help other families.
This stage in Nancy’s life would strike anyone as not the most difficult, but the most heroic. This is where she truly became a one-of-a-kind person; a hero. She thought back to the suffering that she witnessed living in Guatemala, living with it, and knowing that she had the power to do something about it. With this personal super power, she saved many people from what she had seen and felt so that none other would have to go through it. There is anguish and distress in this world, whether humans accept it or not, but there are few that do anything about it, to end it. From one of the most popular books of all time, The Odyssey comes a man named Odysseus. He is an epic hero of both unequaled physical strength, but also unfathomable emotional strength. Nancy reflects this great emotional strength and power to do what is right, even if it means sacrificing something else. Sometimes, we must give to a great cause, and other times we must take away from a good cause for a better one, but Nancy showed that vigor and perseverance through all hardships and struggles, and now she gave back to those who helped her most by assisting other communities in need.
Eventually, she moved to The Crossroads of America, Indiana, to continue her work and beliefs, but this time, in a different way. She now works to support three kids, one of whom has Autism, and the other two are both young. Despite this, she still finds time, every Sunday, rain or shine, to work in a nursery and to, “Connect families to God through ministry. It gives more people opportunities to draw closer to God.” Her life is not at all dire, currently, though. Nancy still has hobbies like the rest of us, knitting and reading when not attending to her kids, “Which generally doesn’t last very long.” Now, she even donates regularly to the church that she attends. Her story demonstrates the true meaning of heroism and perseverance, overcoming many obstacles, only to turn around and help those that she passed along the way.
Her life was very different in each major step, but one thing held constant: she was always a hero to someone. In her childhood, she demonstrated remarkable perseverance, overcoming all of the hurdles set before her. In her after-college years, she demonstrated vitality and fantastic generosity by giving back to everyone indirectly by helping others. Currently, she continues to demonstrate heroism by displaying amazing kindness and patience, both to her children and family, and to the community and church. Nancy, a woman of fantastic emotional and physical strength, character, and drive to do her absolute best in everything she does (even in giving, something that not all have mastered) moves on, becoming more of a heroin every day of her life. Nancy really lives in the moment, loving every second of life. “We all have adversities, but I just try to think positively through them and keep my head up, even when things really aren’t so good.” With an optimistic view of a situation, it can truly be turned from bad to good in an instant. A life view this way can be extremely beneficial to both personal self-esteem and the needs of those surrounding us. What will she do next to improve her already superb résumé of heroism in this “long and amazing” road that we call life?

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This article has 1 comment.

on Jan. 14 2010 at 3:31 pm
Nathan Ressler BRONZE, Westfeld, Indiana
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
Awesome! Creative! Overall Outstanding, a true Hero!!!

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