On Monday, I began my work at Ceipa. As a reminder, Ceipa is a program which offers education to children who are behind in their studies because they have had to work to provide adequate income for their families. In the morning, 90% of these children work in markets. In the afternoons, they attend one of the four schools in the area that are conveniently held in markets.
At least for now, my schedule is to volunteer at San Marcos’ lunch program Monday through Friday from 10:30am to 1:30pm. From 2pm to 5:30pm, I will be working at one of three schools held in markets. On Tuesday, I visited the Ceipa School at the terminal (where all the buses run and the biggest market in town is). This school has about 50 children in it, ages 8 to 18. Several of the 18 year olds have a USA equivalent of a second grade education. My responsibilities here include crowd control, facilitating teaching lesson plans (-once my Spanish is more secure!), one-on-one tutoring with those who need it, and offering English classes every once in a while. In addition, once the director of Ceipa found out that I have my Bachelor’s in psychology, he asked that I consider counseling with some of the students one-on-one. Unfortunately, domestic violence runs rampant here in Guatemala. And because the culture is thus that children are very close with their mothers here- they are more likely to open up to a female counselor than a male one…so I hope I can be of assistance, I will keep you posted!
The children at these schools are precious. Andrea is an 8 year old girl, and three of her siblings attend the same school as her. Andrea and her siblings work at the market with their mother in the mornings, selling fruit and chickens they have raised in their house. After school, Andrea and her siblings ride the bus home together to help cook dinner for their older siblings.
Gloria is a 17 year old mother of two who works with her mother in the market in the mornings. In the afternoons, her mother keeps her sons and continues to sell the vegetables from their garden so that Gloria can go to school for three hours to learn how to read and offer her children a better future.
These beautiful children have a thirst for knowledge, but little opportunity. I pray that I will share a small part in facilitating their dreams this year.
My current house is very much in the center of town, but I am excited for the change of scenery! My host family is wonderful!! I have three host sisters: Marilyn (17), Karen (15), and Stephanie (13). Marilyn is in her first of six years of study- she wants to be a doctor. Karen wants to be a teacher and will start her studies in this specialty next year. Stephanie (lovingly called “Funny”) still has time to decide what she wants to do. My host mom (Maria) has 7 brothers and sisters...and I have about 27 cousins! BIG family and lots of names to remember- but I’m trying! We will have lunch nearly every Sunday with the majority of my family, and I am really looking forward to these future gatherings! (Above: my family from L to R: Maria, Karen, Marilyn and Stephanie; my room)