This summer, 17 year old Cindy Pinzón Sotz hurried home from her job as a housemaid to join her family in welcoming visitors.
She watched with her mother as her younger siblings, dressed in their crisp Chimazat School uniforms, led Cooperative for Education (CoEd) volunteers down the path to her home, and she smiled as the group chattered about the impressive computer demonstration they had just witnessed at the school and the beauty of the strawberry fields that surrounded them.
As we entered their humble dirt-floor dwelling, someone asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. “We want to be teachers,” the middle school siblings enthusiastically agreed. “I want to be a doctor,” said Cindy’s youngest sister, still in primary school.
Cindy, center, with her siblings and mother outside their home in rural Guatemala.
Cindy remained silent, resting her hand on her mother’s shoulder. “I don’t know,” she replied softly when the question was finally directed to her. “I don’t really think about it.”
When Cindy dropped out of school between sixth and seventh grade, she didn’t just give up her education, she also gave up her hopes and dreams for a better future.