Lucia lives in San Pablo La Laguna, a village in the south of Guatemala. The majority of the population is indigenous Tz’utujil, following traditional cultural and religious practises. It’s a beautiful area on the shores of Lake Atitlán, but is fraught with long-standing problems passed down from one generation to the next. Sixty percent of people have never been to school, and there are high levels of poverty, teenage pregnancy and violence against children.
Lucia says that treating children harshly has been the norm. She says, ‘My parents taught me that children need to be raised hard [with physical punishment] and with strictness’. Lucia has three children; she raised them on these principles and did not play with them or hug them.
But when her son became a father, and she became responsible for her grandson while her son and daughter-in-law worked, she began to see things differently. ‘I watched my children adopting the same beliefs of my people,’ she says. ‘Now I realise that instead of helping them I did them harm.’
That’s why she was so interested when Tearfund’s partner AMI San Lucas began a course in her village to train community representatives in the treatment and emotional development of children.
Lucia says that the subject was completely new to her, but she stood out among the other 14 participants for her interest and enthusiasm.
She says, ‘I have learned with AMI that I should change my way of thinking and nurture and care for my family. Now I treat my children and my grandson with tenderness and love, and I see that physical contact is very important for the proper development of my grandson. Now, as a family we want to do things differently.
‘I am now responsible for my grandson and I will not make the same mistakes.’
Thanks to your generous support Lucia’s grandson has a close bond with her and will have a more loving future, and she will pass on what she has learnt to others.
- Give thanks for the amazing work of AMI San Lucas to change cultural norms that have spanned generations.
- Pray for more people like Lucia to attend training and become champions for child development.
- Pray that through this training local people will begin to understand the Father’s love and care for them.