Two articles emphasizing the extreme difference between the highs and lows of growing up in Guatemala. I was so saddened and disturbed by the first and so inspired and amazed by the second.
I can’t count how many times I’ve talked to girls here who don’t understand the value of education. Parents are ok with sending one son, usually the youngest, away to school but inevitably he finds a wife, marries, has a family and forgets about the people who gave him that chance. While that may be a broad statement, the young girls don’t have that option in most houses. However, once they do they tend to see what they can now do for their family and community. I have seen this because some of the women I work with were discouraged by their parents yet they worked for Sharing the Dream until they could earn enough to continue school. Their work ethic is strong and their desire to create a better life for themselves pushes them to achieve more and more each day. It makes me happy to see them gaining confidence and independence. For those who don’t want to study I simply say that education is the one thing that no one can steal from you. I hope that over time more people will see the value in this investment as opposed to what brings them immediate financial gain.
Once again, I’ve let my thoughts and passions wander. One day I hope to apply the same teachings in the field of medicine. Women’s health is sometimes a taboo topic but one that is incredibly important for the wellbeing of the community. Women’s empowerment doesn’t mean that men are valued any less, it simply brings everyone to a higher level–an equal level– from which to continue improving.
I do hope you take the chance to peruse the articles. For me, Guatemala is so much more than the drugs and immigration problems that we hear about in the states. It is a country of contradictions, a country of diverse and breathtaking views and it is a country whose history has turned it upside down yet still continues to hold on to its cherished traditions and culture. Guatemala drives me crazy but tonight while I was sitting on my stool at Lola and Chonitas waiting for my eggs, beans and fried plantains I heard a spanish singer on the radio and listened to the chatter of Tz’utujil rising about the background noise. The walls were bare and the furniture was simple but I felt peaceful and content in the companionship and laughter. Food and friends, laughter and hugs. That is my Guatemala.
Feliz noche! Y que Dios les bendiga. Abrazos desde Atitlán.