LIVING IN GUATEMALA
Someone once asked me; “What makes you, you? How would you describe yourself?” I would say I am a fighter who learns from life every day!
I am Gricelda Argueta. I am from Guatemala and I graduated in from high school in 2009 and I work as a secretary. I love my job! I studied to be a secretary at a private school. Public schools do not offer this profession. The school I attended is located in the same town in which I currently live. It is a place called Xesuj. It is a small village 5 minutes outside of San Maritn Jilotepeque which is the main town in this area. I live with my mom, Gregoria. I am an only child. My dad did not take responsibility to care for me, so my mom and uncles raised me and helped me with my schooling.
In my free time I like playing basketball, soccer, and reading. I love to smile and take photos. I also love sharing my experiences with others. And I especially love spending time with the youth in the Yuda Bands program. Training them and guiding them in their decisions. In short, I love everything I do!
Let me tell you a little more about me, in 2008 when I was in 11th grade, something wonderful happened in my life. Like an angel from heaven, my principal told me that for having good grades and being a good student, they could help me with a student scholarship. The program was called YUDA BANDS. My mom was very comforted by the financial support of this scholarship. We didn’t have much money to pay for my schooling. I received a scholarship for my last two years of school. And I now work for Yuda Bands!
HOW DID I START WORKING AT YUDA BANDS?
I am eternally grateful for the marvelous support and the opportunities my Yuda Bands- Guatemala- scholarship has given me. It has opened many doors for continuing to improve myself.
With a diploma in hand, I was able to start looking for a job to help provide income for my household. At first it was very complicated trying to find a stable job. My first job was in a shoe shop in the market. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays earning Q25.00 ($3) which wasn’t enough to cover our housing expenses. After high school I was the only one able to cover all my family’s expenses.
I found another job working as a maid in Antigua, Guatemala. Antigua is around 2 hours from my home. I would work from Monday to Saturday and return home Saturday afternoon to spend time with my mom. I left for work Monday mornings around 5:00am. I took the bus to work and was making only Q700($93) per month. I also had to pay my bus fare and there was very little income left over.
After that job I came back to San Martin and worked at a bookstore but the salary was the same. It was very difficult to find a job that could pay me enough for me and my mom to live on. Thankfully I was able to visit the Whiting family, who were living here in our town in Guatemala and they were able to give me a job working for YUDA BANDS.
HOW HAS YUDA BANDS BENEFITED ME?
There are so many ways I have learned and grown from this experience. For example, I have learned how to use a computer in ways I had never known before. I have been able to interact with people with a high academic level and been able to be an efficient assistant, manage responsibilities and write documents. I have also improved my English. I used to be very shy but I have improved my social skills and relationships. But most importantly of all I have learned to serve others without receiving anything in return. To value and appreciate my job as a lot of people don’t have work. Getting to really know the students in the program and their families and to help them where I can. Being part of the student’s lives and know their needs, concerns, what makes them happy and sad. And also to learn and teach respect and good values and principles for a successful life.
In short, there are lots of things I have learned as I have come to understand the purpose of this work. I see my life in a different way. I see that I can use my skills and talents to influence good in other’s’ lives in my small town in Guatemala. I can give words of encouragement and improvement that can help these dear and lovely students.
One of the greatest moments of satisfaction is watching students receive their diplomas and begin to work in their professions. It is very satisfying to me to see those smiles on their faces and know how grateful they are.
Having this opportunity in working here has been a great blessing, I’ve had unique experiences, getting to know extraordinary people, ahh…. So many things!
HOW ELSE HAS YUDA BANDS HELPED ME?
One of my main goals is to be able to improve my English. A few years ago I was able to pay to attend an English course. Thanks to this job, I now am practicing my English often through skype calls and other opportunities. During my English course they gave me an opportunity to get a job teaching English! And now I teach English at the same school where I got my diploma. I am very proud of myself that I now work with people who were my teachers. I now have two jobs and I am improving my life every day! I am also taking Administration courses and a Kaqchikel class (which is a Guatemalan dialect). I teach private English classes, I work with volunteers from the Peace Corps and I also help my community teaching free English classes once a week. Because of my hard work these opportunities and this job, I have been able to buy a bike, a laptop computer and other things for my home.
I really love all my jobs and I work hard at all of them with love and passion!
SO WHO AM I?
I am an ordinary woman from Guatemala, but with a mindset that anything is possible! I know it is possible to achieve our goals and have passion for everything we do with perseverance, discipline, enthusiasm, love, and making sacrifices. It is most important that we work hard every day to be successful and have good principles so that we can break from the poverty that is in our country.
Now I have a another challenge. I will be writing blogs about this program! I am so excited! I know a lot of people work very hard to help these kids with their education. In addition I want to show you a little of our culture, what we do, how we work, what we dream for. In short, I will show you a little bit of our beautiful Guatemala and our town, San Martin.
So, is education important? Of course it is! Through this we are able to achieve more opportunities. I was able to make my life better than it was before and I am working hard to continue to improve and help my mom in every way.
So, I’m Gricelda
A woman dedicated to her goals. I work hard every day and I am ready to face challenges. I am ready to keep learning new things. I’m ready to give all of myself in reaching my goals.
Yes, this is me!