I am Erwin Oswaldo Cajbón Macz. I am 19 years old, and I live in the village of Las Mercedes Pasacuc, Cobán, Alta Verapaz. I am studying for a two-year nursing degree, at the Galileo University in Ixcan Playa Grande, Quiche.
I grew up in poverty; most of my clothes that I wore were torn. When I studied in elementary school some of my classmates made fun of me because of the old clothes I wore. My father works and sacrifices himself in the fields to support us. I still remember that when I was a child we had a very humble wooden house and without good living conditions, because when it rained, water would enter the house. I would arrive at school in my brother’s sandals, because I had none to wear.
My life has been very difficult, so I will not stop striving for my education to be able to change this reality. I help support my family to buy clothes, food, medicines, only by working in the fields, since here in Guatemala we cannot get a job with just having a diversificado [high school] diploma, My life is very difficult because of the work that I do along with my studies, but still I will continue to try hard day after day.
In basico ;middle school, I studied in Nimlajococ, a village that is close to my village; about an hour away by foot. I always walked to school because there was no transportation. I studied for two weeks at a time, from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM. I always brought food for my lunch because I did not have money to buy lunch. The two weeks that I was off I used to earn my money to pay for my tuition or necessities.
Some of the great difficulties that I have faced in my academic life are the discouragement that some of my relatives give me, the lack of financial resources, and the doubts I have without being able to question anyone, because there are no people who have [higher levels of] academic education where I live. The only one I can question is Google. These days it is also difficult for me to get transportation to get to my practical training. I always walk thirty minutes on foot to get a bus, and I always get up at 3:00 in the morning.
In the beginning of May the theoretical part of my degree was finished; now I am already in hospital practice. What I do is attend to patients, take vital signs, start IV’s, order equipment used by doctors, and other routine activities in the hospital. I chose this career because for me the most important thing is life, more important than material things. That is why I am interested in taking care of my own life and the lives of others. I am also interested in taking care of the lives of animals.
My goal is to graduate with a licenciatura [bachelor’s degree] in medicine and to help my family by giving talks on self-care. I want to help my community through supporting other young people so that they can get ahead in their education, and give talks explaining the importance of education. The change of educational authorities for the elementary school is also approaching, and I am sure that the community expects a lot from me because I am the first and the only one who is a student at university in my community. I am willing to collaborate in whatever way I can to help my community.
In five years I want: to have a job so that I can help my parents financially and help my younger brother so that he can continue his studies, to serve my community in whatever way I am capable, and to be surrounded by professionals so that I won’t give up, because those who have achieved high academic levels always motivate you.
What I have to do to achieve what I want in five years is to be honest, punctual, responsible, and above all to continue with my academics; these are four fundamental things in my life that will take me very far.