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Ravine School - Mothers' Point of View
by Ronne Rock
Posted on Monday, March 10, 2014
The vultures circle overhead as smoke rises from the mountain of refuse and mixes with the dirt that falls like sandpaper on weathered faces. The days are long at the Ravine, a dump on the outskirts of Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Families come here to sift through waste in the hopes of finding anything of value that can be reused or sold to provide for their own. It’s the hardest of lives, and the pain has been passed down from generation to generation.

But two people with the faith of giants believed life could change for the next generation. Carol (pictured below with Estella) and Cesar, caregivers at Mi Especial Tesoro, began visiting the dump with their girls – 15 beautiful young ladies who themselves had been rescued from abuse and neglect. Grocery distribution and prayer turned into reading time with the children who waited as their parents worked. And reading time became a faith-filled dream.

Today, 114 students attend Centro Educativo Cristiano Mi Especial Tesoro – also known as the Ravine School. There, they are taught reading, writing, mathematics, and the Gospel. The children are committed to their studies despite long days that often include returning to the Ravine to work once classes are over.

For three mothers at the Ravine, the school is more than an education for their children. The school is hope.

Elena (pictured above) stands resolute in the scorching sun. She has four children attending the Ravine School– Ronaldo Miguel (13), Jonny Francisco (11), Julie (9), and Joselin (6). The three older children are in second grade, and the youngest is in first grade. The girls spend their afternoons at a relative’s home, but the boys believe it is their responsibility to help their weary mother who receives no support from her husband. With tears in her eyes, she stares at the trucks as they unload more rubbish. “I don’t want my children to work here. I don’t want them to have the same life as me. An education will give them a chance.” Elena encourages her children to fight for freedom. “My father never gave me a chance to get an education. You are receiving a huge blessing.”

For Florentina (pictured above), a great-grandmother who now has four generations of students (pictured below) attending the Ravine School, the future looks bright. “I can’t find the words. I just know the future will be very good for my children. Life will be much different for them. I’ve seen such a change in them. They are happy, and they have confidence."

When her seven students (pictured above) get home from school, they set up classrooms and pretend to be the instructors. “They want to be teachers someday at the Ravine School. My daughter, Doris, prays now every night. And in the mornings, I hear her sing songs of praise to God. My children have something I never had.”

Estella (above with Carol) was one of Carol and Cesar’s first students – learning reading, writing and mathematics in the midst of the dirt and rubbish. She didn’t receive an education until she was a mother. And she has determined that will not happen to her children.

“I want professions for them. I want them to have the things I couldn’t have.” Her four children are all honor students at the Ravine School. And their dreams mirror their mom’s. She shares, “One wants to be an accountant, one wants to be a doctor, one wants to be a teacher. And the fourth isn’t sure what he wants to do – but he tells everyone he is going to make a difference in this world.”

The families at the Ravine have found ways to ensure their children attend school. They’ve created a carpool of sorts, taking turns to bring the students to the Ravine so they can work in the afternoons. But they can afford little else. Sponsorships now available through Orphan Outreach ensure each student has all the resources needed to receive a quality education. And mission teams visiting the school offer welcomed encouragement to the teachers and children.

Estella says her children love the visits from their friends in the US. “They get to share what they’ve learned, and they always learn something new from the teams. I know that my children will have better lives because of the help I am receiving now.”

Meet the children of Elena, Florentina and Estella – and be a history-maker by sponsoring a student or contributing to the Ravine School. You can also visit the school by joining an Orphan Outreach mission team.

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