So many times we talk about the things that we take for granted. I know I have taken so many things in my life for granted. I have spent over 30 years of my life getting up early and heading to school. It is just what I have done. What has been expected of me, and my routine. It has become so “normal” that most of the time I don’t think twice about it. But I have been struck in the last months how easy education was for me, and I’m not talking about the in-class part. The teacher that I am most impressed with at the school is Miguel. From the moment we interviewed him and prayed through that decision, I could see that he was different. After watching him for a month, his patience in the classroom astounds me. Yesterday I was talking with him about his own schooling. To receive the classes he needed to earn a degree, he left his village at 1:00 AM to walk to the nearest place to catch a bus going to Coban. It was an 11 hour trip. He arrived late, slept on a dirt floor in the house of someone that he had met and then studied for 12 hours the next day. He did this for 5 years. I wondered if I would have had the drive to do that, or if I would have found something easier. Most people settle for the easy route. Those that we have must be motivated or they would not have reached this point. And because they are motivated, I want to be able to give them steak instead of ground beef as their encouragement that they CAN accomplish this that is in front of them.
Many of our students have these same stories. Although none of them travel 11 hours to school, we do have many that walk for hours to arrive at school. Last week one of these students arrive at school with sweat pouring down his head. I had assumed it was from his walk, but he pulled up his pants to show that a dog had attacked him on the way and he was bleeding. He had run most of the way to escape the dog. Another student comes from a family of 11. She worked for 2 years cleaning houses to earn enough money to study for a year ($500) and her family continues to work extra to sacrifice for her education. She came to this strange town, not knowing anyone or having a place to stay because she wants an education. She goes to school all day, attends the three hours of remediation afterwards, and then studies all night. Only to get up the next day to repeat it all over again. And she loves it!!!!
Each one of our students has a story like this, although you would never know by watching them in class. They never complain, always greet you with a smile, and do not ask for any special privileges. For me the encouragement comes by the dedication these students have. Miguel patiently and lovingly provides remediation courses in the afternoons. I was expecting the students to come begrudgingly or only when they really felt like they needed it. But each day 80% of the students are there, hungry to learn. (The other 20% have to work to pay for their schooling).
And so we continue on – challenging minds to think beyond what they see in front of them into the future. This week I encourage you personally to look at how easily so many things are handed to us on a regular basis, without us even realizing that we are blessed. Pray for these students as the mountain in front of them is endless and the challenges that they face are beyond what I would want in my life. It is our hope for them to be able to embrace this hope in front of them and cause a ripple effect in the community. Be blessed!