Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Not At All What I Pictured

Out of the 4 students at the farm, Ro has the most education. H has the same amount Ro did at his age, but he is younger. Knowing that going in, I probably had the least amount of mercy and the highest expectations for him in my class. He did really well, but I kind of expected it or assumed he really didn't have to try as hard as the others. Maybe I missed an opportunity to celebrate with him on his achievements. His confidence led me to assume lots of things. I pictured his house, his family, his life story...

Well, this past week his family came to visit him. When they arrived, they were so excited to see their son, that they couldn't even speak for the tears. They are very supportive of their son being at the institute. While Ro was in class, his mom and sister went right to cleaning his house and doing his laundry. Moms are the same all over the world! They were here only a couple days, but I was able to learn so much more about Ro.
Neither one of Ro's parents can read. That in and of itself is a very large barrier to overcome. We learn so much as children being read to by our parents, things that lay the foundation for all of our future learning. Illiterate parents tend to either not place as high of a value on higher education, or don't know how to make it available to their kids. How would they provide the support system they need to succeed. How would illiterate parents go about helping their kids with their schoolwork? Illiterate people learn in different ways. They file things away in their minds differently, thus recalling them differently when it is time to relate to something new in order to learn more. I have no idea how Ro got to where he is at other than the sheer determination of his parents. 
Education in Guatemala is free, other than basic school supplies until you finish an equivalent to (in years) Jr High. That is where kids usually get lost. Either they don't see the value to pay to continue their education, they live in such rural areas that there aren't jobs for their parents to get to be able to pay for higher education, or they aren't counseled to choose the right school where there will be a job for them afterwards where they live. 

[Here in Sr High you choose your general field like we would do in college. In our area for $40 a month you can be a teacher, nurse or accountant. Only those three schools are offered. Then if you want to do something else you go to college with that as your foundation- so an accountant would go on to study business or law.]

It is the fathers whose sole income is their corn fields, rather than having an outside stable job that have the hardest time. Again, the ruralness of where people live limits their opportunities to have jobs. Ro's dad works at a palm plantation. That means he travels from his rural home to work in a larger town. He provided the means for Ro to get a higher education and then rallied behind him!

I didn't realize Ro's background before. I pictured him as a privileged city boy (because he is educated) and that wasn't the case at all! With the help of his father he removed obstacles that usually take more than one generation to overcome. I was humbled to see his real story. Because of what his father sacrificed his son will be a very well prepared pastor one day, influencing the next generation for Christ! 

CUTE ITEM OF THE DAY: Sparky's girlfriend gave birth to 8 piglets this past week at the institute farm! Our herd is growing!

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