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Sharing with local students at Santiago – “El sueño que tienes en tu mano…”

Lisa was introduced to us by our Panajachel Couchsurfing host, Helga. She is in Guatemala working with a program called Access as a teacher trainer with English classes in certain small towns around Lake Atitlan. When she heard about our project and our school visits, she sent us an email invitation to ask if we’d like to visit the schools she work with. At that time, we were unable to make it for the sessions because we were in IslaVerde on Santa Cruz.

Little did we know, both Helga and Lisa had made plans to cross the lake from Pana to Santa Cruz to attend our sharing session on that Sunday morning. And this was what Lisa shared with us:

Loosely translated as: “Equal education opportunity for all.” Lisa said to us, “These boys here, they can choose to operate the lancha when they grow up instead of being a teacher or engineer or whatever; and these girls can choose to weave or farm instead of being a doctor or lawyer etc. It doesn’t matter to me what they choose to do; so long as they have a choice. This is why I am here.”

With that intention,  and with the experience of the first 2 English words we heard from a Guatemalan boy on the streets; we started our first sharing session in a local school in Guatemala  asking the kids, “Why are you in school today?”:

There was no electricity in the classrooms
The teachers and students went from one power-point to the next
Everyone was determined to make the sharing session happen
Finally, someone found power in a room on the first floor

Within 5 minutes
The desks and chairs were moved and arranged
The projector was set up
The students were seated
Everyone was ready

By how some students travel 2 hours that morning to come for class
By how everyone makes the best out of what was available to have class
By how intently everyone sat at their chairs, waiting for us to begin

Our question,
“Why are you in school today?”
Was already answered

Tay asked, “Who has a dream to be a director and would like to try with my camera today?”

A hand shot up. Her name is Jessica. And she took her job very seriously.

“It was a class made up of 90% girls. The whole intention of us walking into a school to share dreams and stories is so that these girls know, just like everyone else, their future is in their hands. We are two girls just like them. If we can do it, they can do it too. It was empowering for me to watch Jessica hold the camera and get into action.”Tay

We shared where we came from
Singapore – una isla muy pequeña (a very small island)
30 hours by flight to get here
1 year and 3 months by bicycles

But hey
We all belong to the same planet
We all can be found on the globe
We are not all that different

We’re not super rich
Nor are our parents

We’re not super famous
We do not have super powers

In fact
We’re pretty much like everyone else
We’re just like you

“What then, does it take to realise one’s dreams?”
We asked
And with bated breath
We awaited the answers

A wave of murmurs rushed through the students –

A voice said.

Creer – Believe

Another student added.
“Necesito quiere.”

Quiero – Desire

“Tener la fuerza.”

Fuerza – Strength

“I fought hard to hold back my tears. The wave of murmur that spread through the entire classroom felt like waves of hope as each answer came forth. We know this. We all do. What we need to lucha (fight) for our dreams…and when we know what it is that we need, we already have them.”Val

We share our story about “Los tesoros en nuestros corazones (The Treasures in Our Hearts)”
And got them to share with us

The Treasures in Their Hearts:

Dear friends @ Santiago,

Remember why we got you to write your dreams in your hands –
Just like how you already know what it takes to live the life you want:

El sueño que tienes en tu mano es tuyo
The dream that you have in your hand is yours

Y nadie ni nada puede quitartelo
And nobody nor nothing can take it away from you

And remember why we shared the story about
“Los tesoros en nuestros corazones (The Treasures in Our Hearts)” with you –
Just like how you already know what it takes to realise your dream:

You have all that it takes within
The treasures that you seek as you grow up
They lay within – in your hearts

We said to the teachers,
“Thank you for giving us the time and space to do this sharing.”
The teachers replied,
“Thank you for bringing us such a timely reminder –
That what we need to live our dreams
Is not money. It’s belief.”

Group Photo with everyone from the Santiago Atitlan School Sharing

Group Photo with everyone from the Santiago Atitlan School Sharing

Speaking in Schools – a call-out to educators in learning institutions:
If we’re in your area (click here to see where we are right now) and you’d like us to come share stories with you and your students, please let us know by emailing us at or drop us a note here.

Help us share one more story –
Your spare change, even if it’s just $1, will go a long way