These two never stop smiling! Roxana and Tomas Martin, brother and sister from San Martin Jilotepeque, graduated from high school last November–both are Yuda Bands sponsored students! What a change from a few years ago, when their father pulled both kids out of school to work in the fields. Tomas and Roxana’s education was being paid for by sponsors, but that didn’t matter to their father. “Roxana,” he said, “girls don’t need an education!”
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Two years later I ran into Roxana in the streets of San Martin. “Can my husband and I come talk to your parents and see if they’ll let you come back to school?” I asked her.
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She was elated. Roxana loved school and so badly wanted to learn. She beamed as she directed us down a foot path to a small adobe home on the outskirts of town, passing small patches of growing corn and black beans.
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Our visit was short, friendly, and her father promised to think about it.
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After a few days, there was a knock at my door. I opened it to see Roxana, who nearly plowed me over with a hug as she told me her father had said, “Yes!” I don’t think I’ll ever forget her smile! In January of 2012, Roxana began her studies again.
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A year later, her father allowed Tomas to leave the fields and return as well. I couldn’t be more happy for my two friends! I love these guys with their amazing positive attitudes and courage to finish their high school degrees, even with minimal, albeit growing support at home. They’re changing the way Guatemalans think. Congratulations to two of my favorite graduates of 2014!
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