Ledis is one of those community leaders who are not very visible. Libertad is full of assertive, vocal leaders who are quick to get up front and speak their mind on behalf of the community. Ledis demonstrates a different kind of leadership to the people of Libertad; her quiet demeanor lends itself to much listening, her patience leads to much wisdom, and her generosity is exemplary.
Many afternoons, when I need to “recharge,” I stop by Ledis’ home. However, I always find much more than just a resting place. I find a listening ear, a bit of good advice, a story from her past, a hope for the future, a mango, a bag of plums, flavored milk, a hug, a reminder of God’s faithfulness, encouragement to continue on in difficult situations and in complicated times in the community, and among many other things, a reminder that we are all human and are doing the best with what we have (a good lesson that I often forget to apply to myself).
While Ledis might not be the person that the mayor asks to see when arriving to Libertad, she is leading the community in her own way: by sharing her wisdom, generosity, and patience with those around her; by making her community a better place through love; and by teaching me valuable lessons that will stay with me long after I leave Libertad.