In Guatemala, the major school break is in December and January, so the new school year will begin in February. It has been a difficult year for all Guatemalans, and especially for those living in Mayan Highland areas. Because tourism has come to an almost complete stop, many people have lost their jobs and income. It is difficult to know how many people have been affected in the area because testing seems non-existent and causes of death don’t seem to be properly recorded. Vaccinations have been available but many people seem to be resistant to them. Schools have been open (in-class part-time with much work being done on-line) depending on the relevant decisions of the Guatemalan government. Many students do not have the proper technology, but teachers have continued working, often meeting personally with students to exchange assignments and completed work.
The number of students (both high school and university) have been affected. Sometimes young people have had to go work in the fields to help feed the family, some have not had sufficient help at home for them to continue their studies, and some have even migrated to the USA. However, the educational program is continuing and we have new students wanting to join school or be helped at university (with bursaries).
We were hoping that schools could return to in-class teaching in February, but, as everywhere, we don’t know yet what the new school year will look like. However we have paid for tablets for the senior high school students to make it easier for them to work online and we are buying a TV for the junior high school so they can receive the televised classes.
There will be 7 students – from senior high school and university – who will be receiving bursaries. One young woman is planning to enter the medical school at San Carlos University in Quetzaltenango. Two other students are doing well at University and four students are in senior high.
We are not continuing with our distribution of food. Javier, our field coordinator from San Pedro la Laguna, who was instrumental in this project is now receiving some donations from other groups and we have decided not to continue.
We will be working with Jesus Toc, the Chaquijya coordinator, in January to let us know how the schools will operate when the students return in February. We can provide a further update then.