Major: Secondary Education in Natural Sciences
School: Universidad de San Carlos
Originally From: El Estor
Carlos was born October 10, 1993, the fifth of nine children. He grew up in a house made of of tañil, which is something like large corn stalks. Carlos’ family lives in El Estor, a Guatemalan town with a largely indigenous population. The language spoken at home is Q’eqchí, one of the twenty-two Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala. Like many rural indigenous families in Guatemala, they lived in poverty; to many such families sending their children to high school is not an option economically.
Because of his good character, leadership potential, and excellent academic achievement, GSSG chose to sponsor Carlos and bring him to the United States to live with a host family, learn English, and attend high school. In McDonell High School (Chippewa Falls, WI) he thrived–he loved playing on the soccer and baseball teams, and received awards for excellence in math and art. After graduation, he attended Wake Tech Community College (Raleigh, NC) for a year, and then returned to Guatemala to continue his studies in Guatemala’s prestigious public university.
While a university student, Carlos worked as a Q’eqchi’ translator with a team from the US and Canada that was investigating human rights abuses in El Estor. He shared with GSSG the effect this experience had on his goals for his future, writing: “I have been working with some non-profits (activists) in the El Estor area. I have been to many villages and I have seen that the people in these villages really need help. My number one goal is in the education area, because I am someone that thinks that with an education people are able to make a change in their life and in within their community, so I hope someday to find some projects from non-profits to build schools in the villages where people really need it and I would volunteer to teach.”
Carlos has also volunteered to teach English to children in a primary school while working and attending school. Being able to speak English is a skill that can drastically improve lives economically in Guatemala, but few teachers know the language well enough to speak it, let alone teach it. Carlos’s commitment to help others and his love for teaching are evidenced by the fact that to volunteer there, he walks an hour-and-a-half twice a week into the mountains on dangerous roads on which teachers have been assaulted and rocks have fallen and blocked the way.