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Walking up to Ana’s house after a 90-minute drive up a steep, rocky road, one begins to understand that the playing field is far from level. Part of the many challenges that Ana has overcome stem from geographic, linguistic, cultural and racial marginalization.

Ana’s the oldest of seven children. When she was in third grade, a group of WALC participants visited her primary school and left a big impression on her. The next year she came to campus for a weeklong Kids & Birds camp, and when she finished sixth grade, she immediately applied to the WALC program. She was participative, but shy.

The following year, we visited Ana’s home, near the village of Sebob. At 7,270 feet above sea level, Ana’s house was one of the highest and most remote in her village, making her living situation more challenging.

While most families in Sebob get their water from a PVC pipe connected to a water catchment at a mountain spring, Ana’s family had to walk to a small spring ten minutes from their home. The times I met Ana’s mother, she
looked exhausted.

Over the next few years, Ana continued in the WALC program and took on new leadership roles each year. In January 2019 she started her final year of high school.

That summer, Ana’s mother passed away.

This was a huge blow to a young family. Ana was sure that WALC would be out of the question. As the oldest girl in the family, she was expected to assume many of the roles her mother performed. But Ana worked things out with her two younger sisters so they would share these matriarchal duties. Ana had big plans and she wanted to finish school, and she showed up at WALC that November.

In March 2020, the pandemic forced Ana to switch to distance learning. But Ana did not miss a beat and finished her studies from home.

Ana is now in her first year of university and is taking part in virtual WALC. In so many ways, Ana’s story is remarkable. Her courage and determination make her story really heroic. But it shouldn’t require heroism to get into your first year of college.

Thanks to gifts from supporters like you, CCFC helps many others who share stories like Ana’s. She received a modest scholarship each year that she participated in WALC. Ana cites this scholarship as a key factor in her ability to move forward with her life goal – to become a math teacher.

Rob Cahill is the founding director of Community Cloud Forest Conservation, LPGM’s partner in Guatemala.

Author Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry

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