Samuel is a very active 5 year old boy from Chimaltenango Guatemala. He lives with his mother, brother and sister. The picture that shows him with his family also shows the shack where they all live. When you walk inside it you see that they only have the very basics to shelter themselves.
His family is a single parent family, and the mother works as a “tortillera”
( Tortilleras are the ladies that make tortillas by hand in the traditional Maya stile). These are jobs reserved for people with little or no education and which are at the bottom of the salary scale.
Some times when she drops Samuel off at school she stays at the gate for a long time watching Samuel play and socialize with the rest of the children. I can see that she has big hopes for Samuel.
this is the bed room and most houses have only two beds; one for the adults and maybe the baby of the family and the other one for the rest of the children even if there is 5 children, they all pile up on the second one.
Since there are holes on the roof and on the walls, water gets in. And since they have dirt floors the room becomes very muddy in the rainy season and that is why the beds are placed on top of bricks.
The card board boxes on the walls are used to try to block the cold wind from getting in through the holes on the walls.
Here is the kitchen, most families use a wood stove that produces a lot of smoke. That is why the walls are black and the smoke causes a lot of respiratory problems for the family especially for the children.
You can also see that they don’t have a fridge or a microwave or even a blender. To grind corn they use the flat stone that is on top of the log, and it gives you an idea of how much work the mothers have to do to prepare a meal.
All these families are having a hard time feeding themselves so the pets don’t get any food. You can see the ribs on this poor little guy.
Dogs, however, are necessary to keep thieves out.
Samuel is like any other child in the world, he is inquisitive, active, smart, full of life and given the proper conditions he will develop into a well rounded child. He really enjoys the new experience of going to school.
One of Samuel’s greatest achievements was that he learned to socialize well. When he first arrived to school he didn’t like to share, some times he hit some of the other students. It seemed that he thought he had to compete against every one.
Now he knows that he can trust every one here and the other children really like him. Here he is with his best friend.