Ellen Finn was in her 60s when she left Seattle for a home-stay visit to learn Spanish in Honduras. What began as a two-week vacation became a journey that would change her life. The former social worker and jazz musician fell in love with the people there, and moved to Copan Ruinas. For seven years, she found home, ultimately becoming known as the "La Gringuita, la mujer que ayuda (the woman who helps)." Through financial contributions from friends, she started supplying teaching materials to rural schools. More contributions allowed her to up the ante, to work with local teachers, village leaders, and contractors to build and repair dozens of remote schools and medical clinics, and to set up children's health and nutrition programs. Buenos Vecinos (Good Neighbors) was born. This is no academic treatise or intellectual look at a Central American region beset by poverty. A searing, soul-searching testimony of one woman's love for a country and its people, this memoir details Ellen's struggle to understand cultural differences, and her deep despair over the inequities of the world's haves and have-nots. She explores the joys, passion, insights, absurdity, and even the humor, of herself and her life in Copan. Escalating violence and pressure from drug lords would threaten the lives of those she loved, as well as her own. She would be forced to make a choice that would be the toughest and most painful decision of her life.
Author: Ellen Lippman Finn Publisher: Buenos Vecinos Published: 11/09/2017 Pages: 340 Binding Type: Paperback Weight: 0.95lbs Size: 8.50h x 5.50w x 0.76d ISBN: 9780692972212
About the Author At 71, this is Ellen Lippman Finn's first book. She was a counselor and social worker for her first 30 career years, and became a jazz bassist and composer at age 50. Another massive career change occurred at nearly 60 when she fell in love with the people of Honduras, sold most of her belongings and moved, ultimately setting up an informal organization to provide aid to people living in extreme poverty. She currently lives in Guatemala and continues her work in both countries and has just completed the construction of her 20th school. Ellen's two other passions include rescuing, treating and finding homes for street dogs and playing jazz piano.