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Esther approximates that she is 81 years old, with about twelve siblings. Like her grandchildren who study at Safe Passage, she is learning to read and write and do math as a participant in the Adult Literacy Program. She was interviewed by Volunteer Claudia Reuter of Germany.
Q: How and when did you get involved with Camino Seguro/Safe Passage?
A: I knew Camino Seguro/Safe Passage because it is very popular in our neighborhood, and my grandchildren are already going to the project. My son told me one day that now they offer a class for mothers and grandmothers. I started class in May 2008. I was excited and the ladies were very nice!
Q: How often are you attending class at the project, and what are you learning there?
A: I’m in the first grade and come every Monday to Thursday, from 2pm until 4:30pm. I learn to hold a pen and to draw little pictures. I just learned numbers and the alphabet. I can write my name now.
Q: Why did it take you so long to study?
A: My parents tried it to send me to school but I didn’t want to go and they let me stay home. Now I’m older and understand more. I like to study – and I have more time!
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your life, how you grew up?
A: My parents weren’t poor. My father was a carpenter, and we had a stand where we sold vegetables, in Zone 8 in Guatemala City. Furthermore we had some houses in the City. My father had many women, I remember, and he died when he had the flu - I must have been around 13 years old. My mother died around 35 years ago. I had nine children but just two are still alive. All the others died; they had a genetic heart disease. My husband died as well, twenty years ago but from cirrhosis. He was an alcoholic. When I was 16, I had a lot of teeth pain and pulled almost all my teeth. I still have pain. Now I live in a stone house 15 minutes from Camino Seguro/Safe Passage with my daughter and her husband as well their child, who is also attending the project.
Q: What do you like most about coming to Camino Seguro/Safe Passage?
A: I like very much to come here and to chat with all the other women – and calculating! The teachers are very good. Now I’m able to communicate more with my grandchildren because I’m more intelligent. This makes me very happy. I will soon be able to read the newspaper. Thank you, Camino Seguro/Safe Passage, for giving us these opportunities!
Q: What do you want for the future?
A: I want that my grandchildren having a good life. I want to stay healthy, to read and write more.