With 9 members, this is the biggest family yet that we are serving. We got to meet a few of them just a couple weeks ago. As you read, you will understand why we didn’t get to meet the whole family.
Carolina Gudiel is a hard worker. We’ve learned how she puts her kids through school: she takes out a huge loan in the beginning of the school year and works hard all year to pay it off just to repeat the process the next December. In case you are wondering, Guatemalan loans and credit services aren’t as regulated as in the United states. Some loans can cost up to 40% interest! Yet Carolina keeps doing all she can to make sure her children stay in school, do well, and succeed so they can secure a good job after school and support their family.
When we heard of Carolina’s dedication to her children and how hard she struggles to put them through school (and the way she does it), our hearts broke for this family. What if Carolina can’t find enough work? Part of Guatemala’s struggle is that an estimated 50% of its population is unemployed. Of course, there are plenty of little fruit stands and handicraft shops around to buy trinkets and food at less than 50 cents each, but Carolina knows this won’t put her kids through school. When we went to visit the family for the first time, Carolina was absent. She was working far away from home during the school vacation months (October-December) because she found good work elsewhere. Carolina does jobs from house cleaning to house painting. Any type of legitimate employment she can find she jumps on and has become a Carolina of all trades!
While she is away,
Carolina’s oldest daughter takes care of her younger siblings and 5 year old son, Javier. Andrea, who is 19 has since married and moved out of the house, however there are still 7 children attending school. The three oldest: Cindy, Katherine, and Daniel find temporary work when they can in order to help with the cost of their schooling. Cindy also is working hard to make sure her 6 year old son, Javier, can start school next year. Byron, Fernando, and Eduardo attend New Life League School. If you have been on a short-term trip with Servants to Guatemala, you’ve probably stayed right next to the school building they attend. It is said that this is the best school in the area, and its costs prove it: $90/month per child to attend!
Carol’s vision for her family is to make sure they all graduate at least at the high school level. She knows that as the importance of education grows in Guatemala for job placement, anything less than a high school degree will make them more susceptible to falling into the cycle of poverty. It pains us to see that Carol has to take out high interest loans that she isn’t even sure she will be able to pay off just to put these kids through school. This is on top of having 9 mouths to feed. She is certainly proud that her hard work ethic is being learned by her children because if not, they probably wouldn’t be able to go to high school! If you would like to invest in the lives of this family, contact Servants or click here to download and submit a sponsorship form.