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A Whisper in English

Quiet. That was how I would have described Cindy in the first five months that I knew her. She has a quiet smile, gives quiet looks, and has a quiet voice. To be honest, in the first five months that I taught her class, I never once heard her speak. In a class of twenty rowdy fifth graders, Cindy is exactly the kind of student who gets drowned out. When most of my class time is spent trying to get the class to be quiet and listen, it’s almost impossible to reach out to those who are already quiet and get them to speak up.

Mother: Boniface

Jumping on the balls of her feet, Boniface yells out in her high pitched voice, “Lajuj!” As part of the Family of Women group, Boniface leads a Maya counting class for visiting Safe Passage support teams. Her native language is Quiche. Teaching the Mayan numerical system to curious international volunteers gives her a sense of pride. “Now in English!” she says, showing off the English she has learned at Safe Passage.

Then and Now: Ana Rebeca

There are some women attending Safe Passage that everyone knows. They are often the outgoing, talkative women – and then there’s Ana Rebeca.

Then and Now: Jeannette

Walking up the stairs to visit the Creamos store, you can usually hear the cheerful laugh of three or four women rolling in their chairs from some small joke just made. Jeannette is usually one of the louder ones. “Before Safe Passage you wouldn’t hear us laughing like this.”

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