Founder’s Corner: Notes from Guatemala, Part VI

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Our Founder & Executive Director, Linda Smith, is in Guatemala this week. She travels down there a few times every year and when she does, the stories she sends back are bound to inspire! While her schedule is jam packed meeting with staff and scholars and partner organizations, we’ll try to keep you up to speed with the best updates straight from Guatemala. Check back often for more from the Founder’s Corner.

From the Field Part 6

From Reading Promoter to Auxiliary Nurse

Notes from Guatemala, by Linda Smith . September 27, 2013

“This afternoon we ventured out to Chaqijya where Rony (a Reading Village alum who is now a nurse) was meeting up with his colleagues. It was a fascinating visit! I learned that Rony has certain communities he is responsible for, and that he vaccinates children, as well as cats and dogs! He walks from home to  home with a cooler that he carries with him to keep the serum cold. On any given day, Rony mostly attends pregnant women and children, taking vital signs of the women, educating them about nutrition, giving them and their children vitamins and supplements, and referring them to a clinic for additional prenatal care. I was so impressed!

For those of you who don’t know Rony, he is the sweetest young man, very gentle and reassuring. He’s got the perfect disposition to be an excellent nurse. I asked him if the things he learned during his time with Reading Village are helping him in his current work. He said that, yes, the program took away his timidity, which is obviously important to the success of any community health worker. Rony said that his colleagues are very quiet in meetings, but that he speaks up. He is a leader, and his public speaking ability has helped him when he has to give his talks. Rony went on to say that after working with children for so long as a participant in our Leaders & Readers program, he has become a good educator. Finally, after a bit of time it occurred to him to mention the scholarship. Without it, Rony said (with tremendous gratitude), I wouldn’t even be a nurse.”

Taking Things for Granted

Notes from Guatemala, by Linda Smith . September 27, 2013

“From the inception of Reading Village we’ve been aware that one day we’d have a large group of alumni. Several years ago this idea found its way into our vision for 2020. Today I realized we’ve been taking this idea for granted. The alumni group in Concepcion has formed because THEY wanted to be in contact with each other, because THEY want to continue to participate in Reading Village programs, because THEY want to organize themselves to continue making an impact in their community. If this desire didn’t exist, if Julio, Laura, Rosmery, Rony, Marcela and the others had no interest in any of these things, they would not have formed the group. And I would have seen this as a failure of our program that we did not facilitate the development of dedicated leaders who love being together and working for the betterment of their communities. It occurred to me today that the very existence of this group is a result in and of itself — and nothing to be taken for granted.”  

Investing In Relationships

Notes from Guatemala, by Linda Smith . September 26, 2013

“One of the things we’re realizing is that it’s not critical mass that is the key to growth but critical relationships. And if relationships are the most important element, then how do we need to think consciously and critically about how we attend to these relationships? I took some time today to think freely with Daniel, our Program Director, and Ismael, our Community Facilitator, about all of the relationships that exist in the communities  where we work because of our presence. We listed approximately 20, for example: scholar-child, female scholar-male scholar, scholar-teacher, Learning Journey visitor-local family, scholars from community X with scholars from community Y, etc. We then asked ourselves if these relationships are important to us, how are we attending to them? It was a powerful exercise to see how many relationships there were, to be conscious of the ways we attend to these relationships, to reflect on other things we could be doing to attend to them better and most importantly to help us realize what an amazing web of social fabric we are facilitating!” 

Inspired to Invest in these teens? Please considering joining our Educators for Global Literacy Fund or make a one-time donation right now. Give Generously >>


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