Oh Happy Day

“It’s been worth every tear!”

You know, when you ask people to talk about their experiences in getting an education, this is a pretty good one. “Worth every tear.”

Yesterday we invited one of our qualified nurses and two current nursing students to talk with some of the ladies of La Linea about school and scholarships and all things education.

We could do it. Well, we do it, all the time. But nothing we say has the power and conviction of a woman who has fought her way out of a lifetime of abuse into a new world of dignity and opportunity.

So three of them came and they were so fabulous.

“We are all capable of SO much. We are more intelligent than we thought. There is more to us than people have told us all of our lives. You can get out. You can have a different life.”

And then we watched as faces started to light up. Not everyone is interested, and that’s fine. Some will never take us up on the offer of a scholarship, and for others, it’s just not the right time. But even with those who refuse, we know from experience that after months or years, some will come back ready to make a change.

But watching the light of hope suddenly get switched on with some of the ladies was, and always will be, fabulous!

One, a high school graduate (that’s a huge amount of education for Guatemala) hasn’t been able to find a job because she has no employable experience. After listening to the ladies she ran, actually ran, to her room, threw on some street clothes, and went with them to the nursing school to gather as much information as possible. She is bursting with excitement. For the first time in a very long time, she thinks she might see a way out.

There were others really excited at the opportunity. We’ll wait to hear from them in the coming weeks. It’s their job to seek out a school and find out all the information we will need to pay for the program they want. Some fall at this hurdle, but it’s the first test we have to see if they are really serious about getting out.

And for the ladies who came back to talk to their sisters, we just couldn’t be more proud. One has a really great job as a nurse in a very nice clinic in the city. She has employment that most Guatemalan women couldn’t even dream of. Now that she has nursing under her belt, she’s interested in studying English.

K, who believed she’d never leave and absolutely didn’t want to study because she didn’t think she was capable, now has a list of courses she plans to take so that she can eventually go to university! It’s a shift of worldview that is impossible to explain.

And then there’s G. Gah, she was hard work. “I can’t do it. I don’t understand. I’m not cut out for this. Can’t you just find me more sewing?” has morphed into, “I’m going to finish all my education because I can do this. I’m not stupid. God has given me a chance and I’m going to take it.”

Watching K & G walk a currently working prostitute to their school to introduce her to a new world was wonderful. They challenged her, encouraged her, and then showed her how it’s done.

Happy, happy days, friends!