I remember the first time I met this family. At the time, it was only Emilia and her daughter, Dipoli there and we went with Jon to meet them, pray with them, and bring a little food.
The place where I was standing when I took the above picture was difficult to stand in because the roof was caving in. It formed a channel that during the rainy season would pour water into their dirt floor home. Emilia is an eternally sweet woman who is very welcoming and grateful whenever we visit. This widow cannot read or write, which has restricted her working options to manual labor and housekeeping. She currently has a job working for a couple by maintaining their house, cooking, and occasionally caring for the children. Her daughter, Dipoli, is also illiterate and has a lot of trouble finding work.
Gerson (equal to the American pronounce Harrison) is 21 and quit high school some years ago to work to support the family. He has a desire to return to school as he only has 1 more year to accomplish in his computer design course to graduate high school. He currently is the only one of the family living with Emilia because there isn’t much space in their home. Now that Emilia has a job, Gerson wishes to complete his schooling so he can get a good job and better support his family.
Dipoli lives elsewhere with her two children Fabiola and Hamilton. This past year, Fabiola dropped out of school in order to work 6 days a week at the market to support the family and make sure Hamilton can continue going to school. Thankfully, Fabiola has received some sponsorship for the coming school year so that she can continue in her studies. She will continue working some days as needed but will also be able to do her schoolwork, as her employer understands the importance of continuing her education. Fabiola desires to finish these next couple years of school so she can get a better job and be able to put herself through high school.
In July, our first team to come down and work with us helped this family by replacing and fixing the roof on Emilia’s house. As we were at the point of figuring out how to test the functionality of the roof, a huge rainstorm struck and we got to see first hand if the roof would do the job we intended. Even though we all got soaked, we were able to leave with Emilia’s continued thankfulness that her house would no longer get flooded during rainy season.
One of the biggest things that struck me after we completed this project was how dark it was in their home. Emilia doesn’t have electricity! Even if she did, she most likely wouldn’t be able to afford it. It just so happened that Trent, the founder of Servants, Inc. and our boss, brought down a solar powered LED shed light to try out for functionality to help the impoverished have light at minimal cost. I think Emilia appreciates this light more than the fixed roof!
This family is the typical case we see in Guatemala. Even though families understand the importance of getting education, many cannot afford it because the cycle of poverty has already started. The problem is that they cannot afford to go to school and instead choose to drop out of school (which is a cost) and go to work. The general way “unbroken” families operate in Guatemala is that the women take care of the home while the men work to support the family. Unfortunately, many men abandon their families or die leaving a group of uneducated people to fend for themselves. Our hope is that by getting sponsorship to help the younger generations get their schooling, they will not be left in the same situation as Emilia and Dipoli. Emilia also recently just learned that the owner of the land she is living on will be selling it, so her and her neighbors will be forced to move in the coming months.
Do you want to be a part of breaking the cycle of poverty? Keep this family in your prayers and ask God how you can help. For as little as $25-40/month per child, each of these children will be able to receive the education they need to support their parents and raise themselves out of poverty. Please consider making a commitment to support part, if not all of the necessary funds for these kids to attend school. If you would like to invest in the lives of these children,contact Servants or click here to download and submit a sponsorship form.
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