One of the hardest ways to make a living in Guatemala is to work in the open pit gravel mines. The pay is meager and the work is brutally hard and can be dangerous with the unstable, undercut cliffs. For several years our hearts have been heavy as we watched the difficult lives of the mining families, but years of mistreatment and distrust kept them from accepting our offer for scholarships.
That changed this year when the mining representative invited Sandra to speak to the families. Most families were still distrustful and held back, but a few brave families decided to take Sandra up on her offer. Fifteen children signed up for scholarships, and their smiles and nervous excitement was palpable as they received their school shoes, uniforms, and books. They are now going to school – some for the first time in their lives – a dream they thought was beyond their reach.
To celebrate our partnership with these families and build community, Sandra took a meal of chicken to the mines – a very special treat. The families, used and abused for so long, hardly know what to make of this kindness from strangers. Their distrust is melting away and hopes and dreams are springing up. Sandra has given us a warning – come January 2019, the start of the next school year, a lot more mining children want to join these first fifteen.