Winter brought no joy to 42-year-old Elyse. The harsh temperatures and bitter winds bit through her old clothes and threadbare blankets. Her village, nestled in a mountain range, faced low temperatures year-round, even in the summer. Elyse needed to wear warm clothes throughout the year. But during the winter? The cold was even worse.
A Mother’s Burden
While Elyse’s husband was out of the country working, the mother of two was responsible for providing for their sons. To supplement what money her husband made, Elyse raised goats, chickens and pigs. She also grew potatoes, hoping to add to the family’s income. But farming was difficult with the constant low temperatures.
“Nothing grows here except for potatoes and apples,” Elyse explains, “but then these are seasonal fruit—only once a year we cultivate them.”
What earnings Elyse could scrape together, combined with her husband’s income, were barely enough to provide for her and her boys. The money went to their daily survival. Saving for anything extra, such as a blanket, required time.
“I would be able to save some money and then buy a blanket not in a day or two or in a week or a month,” Elyse explains. “It would take me quite a long time to save money.”
The lower temperatures constantly hounded Elyse and her family, and illnesses were common. With no hospital nearby—the nearest one around five hours away—and little money to afford treatment anyway, there was not much Elyse or anyone else who fell ill could do but endure. But what if they could stay warm and keep from getting sick?
The Warmth They Needed
Elyse’s local church, which was led by a GFA missionary, held an event to distribute about 60 warm blankets to families in need—including Elyse and her children. The gift was perfect for warding off winter’s chill.
“I will not suffer due to cold climate at night,” Elyse says. “… If I [can] sleep properly at night, [in the] morning I will be able to get up on time and maybe go for work and do all my household chores. Everything I will be able to do because I had enough sleep at night because of this blanket.”
Without having to save money for a new, thick blanket, Elyse can spend money on whatever else she and her children may need.
“I also believe that because of this blanket … I will be able to save myself from any kind of sickness due to the cold weather,” she states. “… Whoever thought about me and about people like us who live in very cold places and without many resources … I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”