Guatemalan youth doesn't give up on education
By Jordan Kimbrell, writer/editor
I recently had a conversation with my grandmother about dreams. We talked about how sometimes they evolve as we mature, or even fade away to be replaced by new ones. I once dreamed of becoming a professional actress (I even started out as a theater major), but anyone who had seen me as a child with my nose constantly in a book wouldn’t be surprised to learn my dream had changed and I ended up as a writer/editor.
What is true of most dreams is that, for them to become reality, they require hard work. For me that meant going back to get my master’s. Luckily, I received a teaching assistantship and had access to student loans to make my educational dreams a reality. But these resources aren’t always available in places where Unbound works, and even with an Unbound sponsorship, once a student reaches upper levels of education the cost may be more than she can afford.
That was the reality Transita, 26, in Guatemala faced when she graduated high school in 2013. She’s been sponsored since 2003, but the many expenses that go along with college were simply more than the sponsorship could help with.
“I graduated from high school in 2013, but I could not afford to follow my dreams of going to college,” Transita said. “It was frustrating; I felt my dreams had ended.”
Transita’s parents work as day laborers in agriculture, and her father also grows his own corn and beans. In addition to supporting Transita, her parents also care for her younger brother and grandfather.
With the needs of the household to consider, Transita had to get creative to make her dreams come true.
“I really wanted to continue in college, so I thought of starting a tortilla business because this is something that I know how to do well,” she said. “I learned to make tortillas when I was 11. My mother says I make great tortillas. My mother is a great role model; she is a hard working woman.”
Transita started her business selling tortillas in 2014 with just the money she had in her pocket and a bit extra form her parents. She typically sells more than a $100 a week worth of tortillas, which helps not only pay for college, but also for other needs of her family.
“I give the money to my mother and she decides our priorities,” Transita said. “But from that money she buys food and pays for tuitions and other education expenses.”
By 2015, she was able to pay for her college enrollment. Transita is well on her way to achieving her dreams. She’s now in her third year of college, pursing a degree in education.
“I study very hard to get excellent grades,” Transita said. “It’s a big challenge because I have to make and sell tortillas all day and then study hard at night.
“I dream of teaching, I believe it is my vocation. I don’t claim I’ll make a fortune in this field, but I do claim I’ll become a richer human being. I hope I can teach young adults to become great professionals and great people. I hope to make many friends and transfer knowledge to others.”
Transita doesn’t shy away from hard work, and tells those younger than her how important it is.
“Grasp the opportunities that come before you,” she said. “Don’t be embarrassed of working; your triumphs will be much sweeter if you work for them.”
As Transita works toward completing her college education, her dreams are evolving and growing.
“I dream of getting a doctor’s degree in education,” she said. “And maybe … maybe become a dean at a university or the education minister for my country. I know these are big dreams, but I will fight for my dreams.”
Help support a dream. Sponsor today.