“My name is Haydee and I’ve been a teacher here for nine years now, and I’ve had many beautiful experiences here with students like one girl I remember, Lety. When she started studying here in Grade 2, I was her teacher. I remember that she wouldn’t come near me. She was afraid of being close to me and I didn’t understand why. When she came to my desk, she’d stay very far from me. She’d say ‘Here’s my work’ and stretch her hand way out, barely reaching my desk to put down her work. We had a meeting with her mom and she told us that where Lety had studied before, her teacher had treated her poorly, so she didn’t want to go to school any more.”
All of our teachers know about the public school system, where even in a fairly central area like Antigua, the quality of education can be very poor. Many teachers work only for a paycheque, sometimes don’t show up, and can be cruel to their students. All of this was familiar to Haydee, but there was also something deeper going on.
It was that day that I understood why I went through the same trial when I was a kid.
“It was that day that I understood why I went through the same trial when I was a kid. When I was 7 years old, a teacher treated me really badly. She would lock me alone in the classroom and everyone would go to recess except for me. When I showed her my notebook, she would say it’s no good and would cross everything out and throw my notebook across the room. When I heard what Lety had gone through, I understood why God made it so I went through that trial: so that I would be able to help her. And I wouldn’t have been able to understand her if I hadn’t gone through the same thing.
“When that happened with my teacher I was in Grade 1, and I didn’t study the rest of that year or the next year. I didn’t want to go to school and thought every teacher was the same. However, in this school a new teacher came who I remember really well. I remember so clearly one time when I coloured tea cups: one pink, one light blue and one lime green. I finished, but was afraid of showing her my notebook because of my old teacher. When I brought up my notebook, this new teacher said, ‘Oh, it’s beautiful!’ She said, ‘Everyone, look! Look at what your classmate did!’ And that changed the image I had of a teacher. Every day she would hug and kiss me and say to me, ‘I’m so happy you’re here!’ And these things started to change my mind, to help me think that not every teacher is the same.
“So when Lety came to me after this meeting with her mother, she reached way out to put her work on my desk, and I grabbed her hand and said, ‘Come here’ and said ‘It’s really beautiful! You’re very smart!’ I’d always greet her and kiss her, and she began to change. She started to always give me a hug or kiss in the morning and say, ‘Good morning, teacher!’ Lety is in ninth grade now, and even today, when she sees me, she says, ‘Hello, Miss Haydee!’ and I know it was worth the pain, what I suffered.”
Haydee and Lety share the same story of mistreatment in the public school system in Guatemala, and while that allowed Haydee to minister directly to Lety’s heart, we never want that to happen to another student. Our work is small, but we work tirelessly for the good of our students: that through quality Christian education they would know the Lord and His love, and rise up as influencers who would make a difference in Guatemala and the world.
Behind every student testimony is a local missionary, a teacher praying in faith who cares for their students in and out of the classroom. Thanks to Haydee, Lety has been given the opportunity to choose her path. This year, Lety will graduate from Basicos and is able to choose a Carrera stream for her future studies. God used Haydee to transform Lety’s school experience and allow her to continue her studies instead of dropping out and following the all-too-common paths towards child labour or teen pregnancy.
As a private Christian school, we are able to hire passionate, qualified teachers—instead of those who are simply looking for a job, or who don’t have their students’ best interests in mind. We can create a safe place, where students receive an education without worrying for their safety. The trade-off for being able to create this environment is that we receive no funding from the Guatemalan government, but rely on partnerships with donors like you that allow us to pay our staff, purchase supplies, run a breakfast program for our students, and keep the lights on.
Would you partner with one of our local missionaries in the amount of $50 or $100 or more per month?
Your monthly gift can go a long way towards supporting the salary of a teacher who sees their job as a calling where they act as a pastor—and often a parent—to their students, praying for the best for their students and working passionately to communicate God’s love to them.
When sharing about Lety and her last nine years of teaching at the school, Haydee said that “working at this school is the most beautiful opportunity that God has given me.” In conjunction with our student sponsorship program, our staff members need partnership in the amount of $300 per month in order to earn a fair wage and make the difference they want to in their students’ lives. Through your partnership, Haydee and her fellow teachers can continue this important work in Guatemala.