Stories

“No story lives unless someone wants to listen.” J.K. Rowling

The Will to Live

15+ years ago, a Peace Corps worker in the department of el Quiché met a family with a smart, lovely daughter who was not able to lead a normal life as she was confined to her bed. Amigos de Guatemala founders, Jan and Bob Hatmaker, were in the same area when the Peace Corps worker was searching for a way to help this young girl. Eventually, they were able to take Miriam to a Doctors Without Borders clinic for treatment. It was discovered that she had numerous tumors that prevented her organs from functioning. After surgery, Miriam and her family were sent home with all of the catheters available – a two week supply. This lifesaving piece of equipment is not readily available in Guatemala and those that are tend to be for men. Every year, Amigos de Guatemala volunteers bring to her a year’s worth of catheters donated by Cure Medical so that she can live another life.

What Education Means to Jacquelin Nicole Hernandez Contan 

Jacquelin is a recent Amigos de Guatemala High School graduate who found a way to continue her studies in the university where she is working for a degree in legal and social sciences.It hasn’t been easy for Jacquelin.  She grew up in a dysfunctional home where there were frequent fights with a drunken father when he was home.  Her mother would leave the house early to work in order to feed Jacquelin and her older brother.  There were times when mom could not find work and there was no food.  From age seven she found herself home alone where Jacquelin discovered she liked to study and was a quick learner.  “My brother was going to school and I learned to take care of myself alone.  I grew up without much economic help or affection, but it has been a process that even though it was not the right way, it taught me to value many things in life.  I thank God for the opportunities that have allowed me ways to always improve.”  One of them was the scholarship that I was given.  When you grow up in unfavorable environments without support or opportunities, it becomes a great blessing to meet people with a big heart who want to help. She said, “Being part of a group of scholarship recipients where the main objective is for us to feel supported and accompanied by leaders, was and will be one of the best experiences you have given me. “Now I have a place where I can go to read, take classes and enjoy my tranquility.” Jacquelin no longer lives with her parents.  She rents a room near the university in Santa Cruz del Quiche.  Her struggles continue as there are no stable jobs for a 17-year-old and employers pay less than the minimum wage, do not provide benefits or rights of law as she is not yet considered an adult. We predict Jacquelin will continue to find a way to become the success she deserves.

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