Amigos Christian School
The Amigos Christian School is located on the outskirts of Guatemala City in an area called Peronia. This area grew up in the 70s when Guatemala experienced a severe earthquake. Many people, having lost their homes and their work in rural areas of Guatemala, flocked to the city in hopes of finding work and a new start. Without a place to live, they settled in this outlying area of the city and lived in cardboard houses. The Amigos Church and School were started by Carlos Rivera to minister to these people. The school has now grown to over 200 students in grades Kindergarten through 9th grade.
As time has passed, the families in this area have improved their homes, and most now live in block homes with concrete floors. Most homes have electricity, one small bathroom with only cold water, a sink in an outside patio to wash dishes and clothes, and a couple bedrooms, often with no doors. Every other day the city provides running water for a few hours. On “off” days, the families use water they have collected in 55-gallon drums to flush toilets and wash dishes.
Unfortunately, because of lack of education and employment, many in this area have turned to crime, resulting in many gangs and drugs. In the midst of this crime, the Amigos Church and School provide hope and help for children who could otherwise fall into this pattern of living. Students who receive sponsorships are required to attend church and to maintain good grades and good behavior. Their lives will be different because of you!
The children at the Amigos School walk to school, some for up to a half hour. The elementary children attend school in the morning, and the middle school students attend classes from 1-6 p.m. They do not eat lunch at school, but have snacks available at recess time.
Students at the Amigos School, and most schools in Guatemala, are required to wear a formal uniform as well as a uniform for physical education on days when they have PE classes. Sponsorships help provide these uniforms. They also provide books and if needed, fees for computer classes, which includes internet access.
The parents of children who receive sponsorships are very, very grateful. They are thrilled their child is able to attend school, where many have been introduced to Christ. Sponsorships are making a huge difference in the lives of these children!
San Marcos Christian School
San Marcos Christian School is located in La Tinta, in the department of Alta VeraPaz, Guatemala. It is a three-hour drive from the nearest paved road and is surrounded by cornfields and dense vegetation. The temperature ranges from 70 degrees in November to 110 degrees in April, with two seasons—wet and dry.
The people in this rural area speak a native indigenous language called Q’ueqchi and are descendants of the Mayan Indians. A very high percentage of children do not attend school and therefore cannot communicate in Spanish with people from other parts of Guatemala. It is very common for people to sign their names with a thumbprint. Their main source of income is farming small patches of corn, most of which is used to make tortillas, which is the family’s principal food.
Homes in this area of Guatemala are made from stalks of a palm plant and covered with a thatched roof made of palm leaves. Most homes have dirt floors, one or two rooms, and no electricity or running water. Inside, a fire is kept burning to cook tortillas or broth.
Children who are fortunate enough to attend school walk to school. As they grow older and attend middle school (7th – 9th grade), sponsorships provide them a bicycle since the middle school is not within walking distance. If they need to go further, they can pay one quetzal (equal to 13 cents) to ride in the back of a crowded pickup. Most people can afford this transportation only on special occasions.
One of the blessings of receiving an education at the San Marcos School is their daily “snack” provided by families in the USA. The children bring a large plastic cup to school, and it is filled with a thick, healthy rice drink that has been cooked in a big kettle over an open fire. On other days, they receive black beans, eggs, or rice. Often, this is the only time during the day that the child is not hungry.
Children at the San Marcos School wear uniforms that have been outgrown by Chapel Hill Christian School children. Because many children have only one or two other outfits, these uniforms are a great blessing. Most do not have shoes and come to school barefoot, or wearing flipflops.
The parents of children who receive sponsorships are very, very grateful. They are thrilled their child is able to attend school, and many have been introduced to Christ through their Christian education. Sponsorships are making a huge difference in the lives of these children!