I was eager to connect with "Marco," one of our dynamic reading promoters, on my recent trip to Guatemala. Last November his father – out of the blue – asked him when he would be getting married. Marco is 17. He explained to his father that his studies were his priority. He has two more years of high school left. He wants to finish school, get a job and then get married.
Marco's father got so angry with his response that he kicked him out of the house, telling him he never wanted to see his face again.
He was forced to find housing and a job to support himself during the months of November and December (while school is out of session).
I am happy to report he's back at home, studying and leading reading activities. He is clearly traumatized by the shock of having the rug yanked out from under him. He is afraid he may, again, lose everything without warning, in the blink of an eye.
"All is well right now," I told him, "so celebrate and enjoy that. Don’t get stuck in fear over what might happen. Daniel, Gael, Larry and I are here when troubles arise to help you think of options and solutions." And with that he smiled, hugged me, and I felt his body relax a bit.
Every one of our amazing teen leaders has a story similar to this. They live on a precipice, and even the littlest things can send them right over the edge. Marco's father is not a bad man. He is under tremendous pressure to provide for his large family. And it is largely due to the funds you provide for Marco's schooling that enabled his father to take him back under his roof. Our youth appreciate you greatly and depend upon your support to keep their lives on track.
Your support really matters.
Thank you for your partnership in this important work.
"Today I had a very beautiful moment. I have always heard children asking for food or money, but for the first time in my life I saw a group of children ask for a story. And that, for me, is very significant" -- Gael Dhaenens, Reading Village's newly hired Community Facilitator in Guatemala.
The next Reading Village Learning Journey to Guatemala is scheduled for March 11-17, 2012. This is going to be a trip packed with memorable experiences, including a visit to the colonial city of Antigua, a walk through ancient Mayan ruins, a boat ride across stunning Lake Atitlan to visit a local coffee cooperative, and shopping for beautiful handicrafts. Most importantly, we will learn and work side-by-side with our teen reading promoters and the kids in the villages, and spend time in the homes of local families!
Over the years, we have learned that these 10-person trips to Guatemala are about much more than service, cultural exchange, and sightseeing. Our participants consistently tell us that their experience in Guatemala reshaped their lens on life and illuminated new directions after they returned home. So, whether you are looking for an escape from the cold weather, a superb travel experience, or something more, we are confident that this next Learning Journey has something to offer.
Please join us and consider inviting a friend or family member to accompany you. Our participants range in age from teen (accompanied by parent) to 75+ years old. No Spanish necessary. We currently have five open spaces left on the trip so do not delay. Finally, this is likely to be the only Reading Village Learning Journey in 2012 unless we are able to squeeze one in during early December.
Click the following links for a short video and detailed information. Contact Larry Dressler, our beloved Learning Journey Sherpa, with any questions at 303-506-3127.
Dont't miss out! Make your reservation today while openings are still available,