Having scrubbed up on my Spanish, over lunch I was able to have a conversation with Marilin about school, her love of sports and what she would like to do in the future. I was amazed that as a 13-year-old she already knows she wants to go to university and study engineering.
After talking to Marilin’s mum, the daily challenges faced by the family became clear. Marilin’s mother is raising her children single-handedly, while also caring for her sick mother. For income, Marilin’s mum washes other people’s clothes in her home, completely by hand. The way of life in this region is so difficult to explain in words, despite my having been there in person. People work so hard, children work so hard. Many are not even able to attend school until they are 9 or 10 years old.
And yet, among the tired faces, you still meet beautiful people with big smiles, open hearts and natural curiosity, happy that you have come to see their country and hear their stories.