In May of this year, our team made their way to Guatemala City to check on a preschool we support, as well as to scope out new opportunities to improve the lives of everyday Guatemalans.
Adam—a man our MPPH team met while in Guatemala this May—was no exception. At an early age, Adam’s father left him, his two older sisters, and their mom to fend for themselves.
Unable to pay for tuition and school supplies, Adam was forced to leave school in the fourth grade. Instead of learning to read and write, Adam spent his days wandering the slum streets looking for odd jobs to bring in a few extra quetzales (Guatemala’s national currency).
It wasn’t until he was sixteen that Adam was finally able to return to school. With a little help from an uncle who biked around town hawking newspapers, Adam was able to re-enroll—as a sixth grader.
Having been out of school for so many years, Adam struggled to keep up with the curriculum, despite being several years older than his fellow classmates.
Worried about his progress, his teacher started keeping a close eye on Adam. That’s when she discovered Adam had been waking up at 2am every morning to unload corn from trucks to make enough money to afford his school supplies.
Enraged, Adam’s teacher confronted his employers, threatening to call the police and have them arrested for exploitation. Little did she realize that in trying to protect Adam from hard labor as child, she would condemn him to it as a man.
Unable to continue his schooling, Adam resorted to making a living "under the table." Eventually, like many men from La Limonada, Adam found himself at odds with the law.
Now a "criminal" in the eyes of legitimate employers, Adam was convinced he would have no choice but to make an income on the black market upon his release.
But, shortly before completing his sentence, Adam met a man who said he represented Esperanza Renovado—Hope Renewed. The man spoke with Adam at length about the direction of his life, about his willingness to change it.
Apparently convinced by Adam's promise to do whatever it would take to lead a better life, the man offered Adam the one thing he never could have anticipated: a job.
As an employe of Hope Renewed's Work for Change program, Adam was paid wages and enrolled in school (at no cost to him) in exchange for completing construction projects in some of La Limonada's poorest neighborhoods.
Initially, Adam was tasked with simply disposing of trash and excess scraps from the build sites; but, in time, as he was entrusted with greater and greater responsibility, and taught valuable new skills—like how to mix and pour concrete.
In a span of just four years, Adam progressed to become not just the director of the Work for Change program, but an integral member of Hope Renewed's leadership.
Today, Adam is leading the organization's efforts to improve communities throughout La Limonada by providing vocational training, educational scholarships, opportunities for employment, business loans, and more.
And while all of this adds up up to a life he never thought possible, Adam still faces immense challenges, choosing to live—as he does—in La Limonada.
While in Guatemala, members of the MPPH team visited Adam's home in La Limonada. Through conversation, the team had learned that Adam had been saving extra money for years to replace the roof on his home.
As if orchestrated, the team wound their way through La Limonada's thin streets into Adam's home just in time for the afternoon rains to begin beating against the neighborhood's tin roof canopy.
After a brief tour, Adam ducked outside to collect an armful of buckets, which he began strewing throughout the single bedroom home—beneath what would shortly become streams of water pouring through the faulty roof.
Two of the buckets were placed on top of his mother's bed.
For nearly two years, Adam has single handedly cared for his mother, who suffers debilitating arthritis and failing eyesight from having worked tirelessly for decades to provide what she could for her three children.
Her bed sits hardly a foot apart from his. Her wall, adorned with free calendars peddled by Guatemalan cellphone companies, faces his, decorated with trinkets from his travels—including one from the United States.
It's hard to fathom having to care for a parent on one's own. It's impossible to fathom doing so on a salary that pays less than $10 a day, in a home where there's no privacy, not even from the rain.
That's why MPPH is dedicating $2,675 from the $15,000 we raised at this year's Mortgage Innovation Summit, sponsored by SoftVu, to put a new roof on Adam's home and to level out the foundation to prevent flooding.
We are incredibly excited to see Adam's home transformed over the next few months!
As Adam and his team make progress on the renovation, we'll be posting updates to our Facebook page, as well as highlighting the project in our monthly newsletter.
To learn more about this project, or the work being done in La Limonada, request a time to speak with a member of our team using the below form.
Interested to learn more about this project, or the work we're undertaking to improve the lives of those living and working in La Limonada? Complete the form below to request a time to speak with a member of our team.