Jumping on the balls of her feet, Bonifacia yells out in her high pitched voice, “Lajuj!” As part of the Family of Women Creamos group, Bonifacia leads a Maya counting class for visiting Safe Passage support teams. Her native language is Quiche, and teaching the Mayan numerical system to curious international volunteers gives her a sense of pride. “Now in English!” she says, showing off the English skills she has learned at Safe Passage.
Bonifacia is from the rural Guatemalan area Totonicapán. There, education is a rare privilege and she grew up in poverty. At the age of 12 Bonifacia moved from her small town to Guatemala City to be a nanny. With this move, Bonifacia traded in her dreams of books and backpacks for diapers and dirty laundry.
As an illiterate Quiche-speaker, navigating Guatemala City was a challenge for her.
Bonifacia reflects, “I used to have to guess which bus I needed to take and ride it until the end of the line. If it wasn’t the right one I’d do it again. Now, this is no longer a problem.”
After participating in Safe Passage Adult Literacy courses, Bonifacia now knows how to read the bus schedules.
With the help of the Adult Literacy program, Bonifacia is now studying in 3rd grade. She hopes to graduate from 6th grade soon. What she’s most proud of isn’t the fact that’s she’s continuing her studies in her elder years. It’s not that she’s supporting her family through social entrepreneurship. It’s that her son Mynor has already graduated from high school and found a good job. Mynor was hired as a physical education teacher for the same place taught her how to read and write: Safe Passage.