So many of our supporters have wonderful memories of Anita Bunch (1940-2023) and her ongoing commitment to Friendship Bridge. Following are personal recollections from our colleague, Nancy Hiester.
I met Anita in the year 2000 as I embarked upon my career with Friendship Bridge. She was a bit nervous about me since I was brand new. Within a few minutes of interaction, we became kindred spirits, close colleagues, friends, spiritual pals, and partners for life helping Friendship Bridge succeed in all endeavors. Anita’s smile always lit up the room and reflected compassion, grace, humor, and spice.
Throughout the years, our bond strengthened as Anita and I become close amigas. She shared with me her life story and was always SO proud of her daughter and her three magnificent grandchildren.
Anita introduced me and our Friendship Circle to walking the labyrinth, which is a symbol of spiritual health and wellbeing. The morning of every “Evening in Evergreen,” we would walk the labyrinth at the Church of the Transfiguration with members of the Evergreen Circle to inspire success at the event. As we walked the labyrinth, we meditated and reflected. That night, Anita and I danced, laughed, and pranced as funds were raised for our Guatemalan sisters.
My favorite memory of Anita was from our very first insight trip in 2000. We had a close-knit group of eight individuals who visited clients, learned about their businesses, and the benefits of Microcredit Plus. After a full day of making house visits, the group was invited to attend a local religious ceremony. Only half of the group went, Anita and I included. We found ourselves in a room surrounded by flashing colorful lights, plastic food and figurines hanging from the ceiling, and non-stop tinny Christmas carols. I gave Anita a secret look of astonishment. After a few minutes in the room, each individual was guided up a ladder to give the wooden statue of the deity a kiss, a tip, and a bottle of gin. Needless to say, Anita and I always had a laugh about that time on the lake in Guatemala.
Anita had a rich spiritual side, which was filled with joy and commitment to empowering women in Guatemala. For the past 23 years, Anita has been a positive force in my life with fun, silliness, and deep conversations, creating a strong relationship. Although she lived a full life, I will always miss Anita. I’ll continue to hear her voice in my ears and her song in my heart.
Rest in peace, Anita Bunch. Know that Friendship Bridge as an organization would not be the same without your contributions, and we as individuals would not be the same had our lives not crossed paths with yours.
Read more about Anita’s life and her wishes for memorial contributions.