Meet Charo’s family. Viridiana wants to work in business administration. She’s a successful university student with just one semester to go. Monse likes math and wants to work in accounting. She has just two years of university left and is already helping to support the family with part-time work in an office. Jose begins university classes this year and hopes to work in the hospitality or tourism industry. The other six children are in prepa (high school), secundaria (junior high), and primaria (primary school).
Education is important in Charo’s family. Between part-time work, caring for 9 children and tending a garden, Charo is studying, too. She plans to take her secundaria examinations this winter.
Over the years, getting a little help from Friends of Cozumel in the form of school supplies and shoes assured that the children could attend school. And learning about composting in a FOC workshop a couple of years ago planted the idea of creating their own food source. Seeds and gifts of dirt (strange as that may sound) gave them the start on a garden that is now producing the fresh vegetables that are often too expensive for families with limited resources.
“Tenemos un arbol de bananas, tambien. (We have a banana tree, too.)” said Charo.
Friends of Cozumel volunteers have watched Charo’s family grow up for the past 10 years—since Viridiana and Monse were just little girls and Charo was struggling to keep food on the table. And each time I’ve seen them, they’ve been happy and positive. The oldest children have become strong role models to the younger ones who now have career goals of their own.
Carmen talked about becoming a nurse or maybe a lawyer. Shy, ten-year-old Jhoana plans a different approach.
“A dancer?” she said, hugging her new backpack with a photo of the band One Direction on the front.
When asked about the impact of education on the family, Charo was very clear.
“This is important. Things are very expensive on the island,” she said. “We can’t afford to buy materials. Thank you for the help.”
Then without any prompting from momma, each of the 9 children gave me kiss on the cheek. I’d like to share those 9 kisses with all FOC donors. Thanks for bringing education and a hopeful future to 300 Cozumel children this year.
~ Phyllis from Nebraska
Date: July 29, 2014