Last weekend, Michelle and Elvia went to a village in the district of Santa Bárbara, around 3hrs away from Guatemala City. The village is one of the poorest areas of the country, where most people live in makeshift houses made of zinc fence, corn cane and other material they can find at a low cost.
The families struggle to make ends meet, many of the parents work on plantations in the surroundings, but since those are low paid seasonal jobs, money is never enough to maintain the families and many suffer from malnutrition. On top of that, a lot of mothers are single mothers with sometimes up to 6 children, because the fathers are absent.
It is also one of the viallges where we distributed food supplies during the pandemic and are now giving more than 40 children access to education through school supplies.
On Sunday, they gathered all the children of the village in a big room next to the local school and spent the whole day with them. First, they sang songs, read them stories and had several talks. The topics were various, religious stories of the bible, hardships of attending school when there are so many problems at home but also domestic violence. In those remote areas of Guatemala, where people have little access to education, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and rape are very common. For them, it is just a part of their daily life that most of them do not talk about or even question. With our education programme, we also try to raise awareness about those topics. Yet, it is very difficult, since Guatemala is a patriarchic society.
Later in the day, they supplied the children with English books that we got at a very cheap price from a local school books producer. In a playful manner, they taught the children their first words of English. The childrens’ age ranged between 6 and 16, so they formed small groups in which they could work together and do the exercises in the book.
In the late afternoon, Michelle and Elvia walked through the village with all the children and accompanied each of them home. It was a day full of joy, fun and happiness and Elvia and Michelle left with their hearts full, because they were able to give the children a disruption to their normal daily life full of hardships. The children were all grateful for their visit and asked when they will be back. Everyone enjoyed the experience and we are planning to visit the village again in three weeks.