The recipe for happiness begins with a corn tortilla

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Marlene, 9 years old from San Antonio Peten, has 8 siblings and works in a plantation in Guatemala.

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Marlene and her friends getting some water from the dwell

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Marlene, Rosa and Carmen 9 years old

Happiness on a daily basis in San Antonio, Peten one of the poorest regions in Guatemala.

This is a true story. A story that changed my life and touched my heart forever. An opportunity that cleared my mind and inspired my soul. Those are the stories and lives of real children that showed me what life is truly about. I never knew I could feel like this before. I had never been surrounded by so much poverty and joy all at once. I traveled to Guatemala with a non-profit organization, Global Humanitaria which fights for children’s rights, in order to give them education and a better life.

This sounds like a cliche but I can honestly tell you, that when you walk with your own legs those long distances with them, to go find some water under the bright sun, when you taste their amazing food that are willing to share with you, when you live their lives, nothing will ever be the same. I was so shocked when I got to Peten, Guatemala, I wanted to cry and yell for all the injustice I was seeing. I felt so small and insignificant. I did not know how to start helping those children. However, at the end I realized they didn’t need my help, thought they helped and taught me, during my time in their communities. I just had to open my heart and share with them all the possible games I could remember from my childhood.

It was such an incredible feeling, because in these poor regions adults are working all day and no one actually plays with their children. They couldn’t imagine how someone wanted to play and share time with them. Moreover, we didn’t speak the same language, but somehow, we could understand each other very well. Some of the kids who knew a little bit more of Spanish, translated what I was saying to the rest of the group in their mother language, Q’eqchi’, a native mayan language that I found really interesting and worth spending time teaching next generations, in order to not lose their culture. Even though those regions from Eastern Peten live in extremely difficult conditions, children are happy on a daily basis. The little ones are excited to go to school for a few hours and the older brothers are proud to see that they can go at least for two or three years until they learn to read and write. It is amazing how the whole family works so hard to overcome the circumstances and improve the future of their kids.

Their homes, their little beds, if I can call them beds, more like wooden surfaces made of sugar cane above the ground, their precarious schools in the middle of Peten, the largest department of Guatemala, and their virgin muddy paths, where children walk barefoot everyday multiple times, to carry big gallons of water over their tiny heads without spilling a drop. It amuses me to think that some kids in the U.S and around the world fight with their moms because they do not want to go to school or do the dishes at home, and those kids in Guatemala are excited with a pencil and happy to go get some corn at the plantation or how they called “Milpa”, holding hands with a friend and carrying big baskets.

They are happy with simple things. They are happy knowing that their brothers and sisters survived one more day. They smile when a young journalist decides to stop her life and share with  them. They taught me so much, I feel blessed and grateful. They touch my soul and inspired my heart. Thank you for teaching me. You kids have become my best teachers.

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2 thoughts on “The recipe for happiness begins with a corn tortilla

  1. Great article. You managed to capture such a great essence that exists in those remote areas which hardly anyone takes the time to see nowadays. Congratulations on such a great experience.

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