It’s that time of year! In Guatemala the school year runs from January through October which means that right now we are celebrating the graduations of another class of Reading Village scholars. Our Founder & Executive Director, Linda Smith, is down there for the occasion beaming with pride on behalf of everyone at Reading Village. Over here on the blog we’ll try to keep you up to date with some glimpses of graduation season straight from Guatemala. Check back often for more from the Founder’s Corner.
Nine New Scholars
Notes from Guatemala, by Linda Smith . November 5, 2013
“I am happy to report that nine impressive teens from Chuiquel have now officially received their acceptance letters and are very happy to be part of the Reading Village family. Daniel (Program Director), Ismael (Community Facilitator), Larry (Co-Founder) and I welcomed them, we formed a circle and discussed the responsibilities and commitments of both Reading Village and the teens themselves and other housekeeping issues. The teens attentively and patiently received a lot of information, and I thought, ‘I wonder how they feel right now?’ So I decided to ask. I asked them to look inside to see how they felt and to find a word or phrase that would complete the sentence, ‘Right now I feel ____ to be part of Reading Village.’
There were a lot of variations on the theme of happy, joyous, satisfied (in the Spanish sense that not one more thing could make you happier), and then Leticia said, ‘proud.’ That surprised me because in my experience of Mayan communities my sense is that the word ‘proud’ only carries the definition of ‘thinking too highly of oneself’ and not the other version that means ‘worthy, because you’ve accomplished something.’ So the word is rarely used. Leticia clearly meant the latter.
Then it was the turn of the last two boys in the circle to speak. They could have copied what anyone else had said, but instead offered original, vulnerable and heart-touching words. Martin said, ‘I feel like a hero.’ And Ricardo said, ‘I feel valued.’ Their words brought tears to my eyes (although there’s nothing surprising about that)!
This is just one example of the beauty that arises when we give it space to do so.”