Note: The following was originally written in Spanish, by Eva Pop Caal, and is translated below [THERE MAY STILL BE A FEW THINGS TO VERIFY IN THIS TRANSLATION].
Let me tell you a little about my life, but only briefly, as there is not enough time to relate it all in detail. When I was eight years old, my parents brought us to the town of Poptún so that we could study and work to improve our lives. I studied as hard as I could. I helped out my mother by selling tortillas before going to the school. In this way, I finished elementary school. I went to middle school part-time, as mature student, only going to classes on the weekend. My family didn’t have the money to have me attend every day. Thank God, I successfully completed middle-school. Yet it wasn’t easy. My brothers and sisters were also trying to study. My mother earned very little, and the little she earned often wasn’t enough. We all had to work hard to sell tortillas, otherwise there wouldn’t be enough to eat.
When I started high school, I had to work as a cleaner in the morning, before going to school. I used my earnings to buy school supplies, and I also tried to help out my parents. What we earned was barely enough to pay for my tuition. As my studies advanced I was no longer able to work, as my studies required a practicum. The combination of studies, practicum and homework filled the day. In the end, I successfully graduated, with the help of friends and family.
Thank God the year I graduated I got my first job, in Poptún, with a group dedicated to the defense of indigenous rights. I worked with groups of peasant farm women. I conducted field work with a group of women. Although I really didn’t have any experience, I took the job because I had to support my brothers and sister, who were studying at the time. This was my first experience at sharing or learning new skills. The job was very satisfying. I was working with disadvantaged groups and in the fields of both personal and community development. I stayed with this organization for three years. When this contract finished, I was interested in trying something new.
Then I went to San Benito, Péten, to work at an institution for Women, as a field technician in the area of adult literacy, especially for women. This was the first opportunity for women in some communities of San Luis and Poptún. They then sent me to the area of Sayaxché, Petén. That's where I got to meet new people that I interacted with. They were political leaders, very high positions, as in court, in municipalities and in women’s institutions. We all had the same goal, to coordinate activities and do double duty to unite and to improve their situation. I worked for this for four years, finding successes and obstacles along the way.
I then joined the distinguished institution, which is where I discovered Pueblo Partisans. This has provided me with new experiences that will serve me for life. The work I've done so far has filled me with satisfaction and I have given every effort to support the group of students I was in charge of. Between obstacles, but to seek solutions that you see that nobody was missing classes, unfortunately, because there were some major quasar that they were unable to complete its preparation. The important thing is to show that one is willing to support them in that way only gives encouragement to adult women, because at the age that they have to say they are going to prepare. What you have to understand is that they do it for their own sake, and for their children and also for the community. We participate and get involved in different community activities to achieve the real changes that we all desire, taking advantage of all those who wish to participate.
With the support of my friends from my previous job as a student, I could matriculate as a student in the prestigious University of San Carlos de Guatemala, doing extension studies in Social Work in Poptún. Currently, I am pursuing my 6th cycle and am preparing myself academically and professionally. I enjoy this because it is helping others and is humanitarian. Truthfully, this has given me life. I have had many highs and lows, but I do not give up. I know how to get ahead, with the help of God, and support from my family.
Today, I have a very big reason to want to throw myself into my studies and my work. It is because of a little person who has come to change my life. Because of her, I have to face any obstacles that may be in the way. This is most important for her. For her, I make sure that I arm myself value and I strive not to falter when faced with problems.
Evita and her mother, Eva
In the two photographs on this page, I am accompanied by my daughter, Evita, who is the reason for my existence. I just hope someday to build a roof where we can live together and have a secure home for her. Anita is seven-years old, and has completed first grade. Next year, she enters second grade. She is a very smart girl who loves to ask the things unknown. No doubt she has questions to be clarified. We live in my parents’ house, but this is not the same as having your own home. I am a single mother argue and my daughter and also my parents and I do not have to have that house now and we long for my daughter and me. But trust in God, and we know that he will bless us and one day we will obtain our dream. At the moment, however, I have to struggle to finish my studies. Well, I will not share the part where I have suffered, but I’d rather forget that part. I’m doing well now, and more than anything, I wish to move forward.
Poptún, November 2011