We met Michel in December of 2013, and as an introduction, it’s probably best for our friend Ashley to tell you about her.
“Franyesca Michel (she goes by Michel) lives with her family in Barrio Divino Niño (one of the poorest neighborhoods in El Sauce). They have lived in this neighborhood for 16 years. Her mother’s name is Mercedes Moreno Ramirez, her father is Eugenio Roque Ideaquez, and she has a brother and a sister. The oldest, Yerson Roque Moreno, is 17 years old. Franyesca Michel is 12 years old and graduated from 6th grade during the 2013 school year, which is a big accomplishment for her. She will be participating in a graduation ceremony, and the family is struggling to be able to provide for her graduation (traditionally, the children who are graduating have to wear a special hand-made uniform and new shoes, and the family tries to get dressed up very nice as this is a very important event in a Nicaraguan child’s life). Her sister is Perla Mercedes and is 7 years old. This school year she just finished first grade.
Her family lives a very humble lifestyle; Mercedes makes and sells tortillas and frijole from their home on a wood-based fire. All of their cooking is done on a clay-made “oven” that is run by fire wood. Eugenio is a “jornalero”, which means that he does whatever work he can find or whatever people look for him to help with, such as “chapodar”, which is cutting grass or weeds and vines and small trees with a machete, repairing a fence or a roof, putting plastic up on someone’s house (maybe repairing a wall or a roof or the gap between the wall and roof) to protect from the rains, sometimes working in the fields, whatever he can find. With what these two earn, they do their best to support their family and make sure their children have food and clothing and supplies to go to school, though obviously this is a major struggle and sometime they have to choose what is most important to survive.
Their house is very humble – the walls are made almost entirely of plastic with a few sheets of zinc and old wood that is deteriorating. The roof is made of plastic, some sheets of zinc that were donated to them by the mayor´s office (the only help they have been able to receive thus far in constructing their “house”), and some pieces of “nicalis” (a construction material that is undulated and a softer material than zinc). Because Divino Niño lies lower than other neighborhoods in El Sauce, during rainy season, their house gets very wet and often floods – both from the water rushing in from the street that goes by their house and also from the water that seeps in through the floor since they have a dirt floor that maintains itself very wet during rainy season. During rainy season, when the rains are heavy (which is especially true in October and parts of November), the dirt road that runs by their house literally turns into a river of rushing water that floods the whole neighborhood and often floods the houses as well.
Franchesca Michel is a very hard worker and an excellent student. During the 2013 school year, she studied both 5th and 6th grade in one year, and she was the best student in her class. Even though her parents only have an elementary education, they understand the importance of school and encourage their children to study. When Michel isn’t in school or studying, she helps her mother making and selling tortillas and frijoles and in doing work around the house or running errands.”
When we met Michel, it was clear that she has a wonderful sense of humor. She seems like a very steady, grounded young lady. Her letter of introduction to us had little drawings of sun coming through rainclouds, and hearts with wings. In Spanish, she wrote:
“Hi, my name is Franyesca Michel Roque Moreno:
– I live with my father and mother and with my brother and sister.
– My mother’s name is Mercede. My father’s name is Eugenio and my sister’s name is Perla. My brother’s name is Yerson.
– My favorite class is math and language and literature.
– In my free time I help my mother around the house.
– I study because I like to study because when I am older I want to be someone in life so I can help my parents.
– My goal is to be a doctor.
– I am 12 years old.
– I was the best student in my joint 5th and 6th grade class.
– I studied 5th and 6th grade together.
– I feel very proud of myself.
– Thank you very much for giving me a little of your time. I leave you with a big hug.”
Well, we feel the same way, Michel!
Christa visited with Michel in December, and it was wonderful to see her again. Her father is now receiving a different kind of treatment for which he can travel alone to the nearby town of Chinandega. This has allowed Michel to go back to work caring for the children that she was watching before, so she can earn a little money. In addition, she is ready to go back to school to finish her university studies! She has half a year left in class, and then the final semester will be for her to do her thesis. Her graduation will be in December of 2023, and we cannot wait to attend!
We invited Michel and her mother to a little gathering of the older students and their mothers (or friends if their mothers couldn’t come). We all sat and had smoothies (batidos) and some snacks, and talked about the year and their upcoming studies. Michel and her mother came, and it was great to have them back in the group of scholarship recipients!
Michel wanted to write a letter to the board to thank them for continuing to support her in school, and she sent it to us within one day of Christa returning to the US!
Monday, 12 December, 2022
For Christa Sadler,
Hello dear Christa, I hope this finds you well and healthy alongside your friends and loved ones. The reason for writing this is to tell you the following.
First, I want to thank you all for the opportunity to continue studying. This past year I left school because my father’s health was very bad and I had to care for him myself, but to know that you would continue supporting me to accomplish my dreams is a great joy for me. I will study hard to get good grades and that you feel proud of me. Thank you again for always caring about my studies. My parents are very grateful also since you can allow me to continue studying so I can thus help my parents and children who want to study. I will be a good teacher.
I say goodbye with a big kiss and hug. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous new year. May god bless you always.
Sincerely, Michel Roque
Michel and her family have had a hard time in the past few months. When Christa saw Michel in December of 2021, she was working during the week caring for two children and going to school on Saturdays in Esteli. She was excited to be finishing her studies and to graduate in December of 2022. She excitedly told Christa about her thesis for her “predefense,” entitled Didactic Strategies of 5th Grade Students of San Luis Gonzaga School in El Sauce, Leon. She very proudly said that she was researching the academic problems that age group of students have, and how to help them work through those problems.
Unfortunately, at the beginning of 2022, her father was diagnosed with kidney failure. After a lot of agonizing, Michel decided to leave school to help her father with his dialysis. He is at home, and the procedure is something she can help with until he is strong enough to do it himself (we’re not really sure what exactly they are doing at home, medically).
Michel said it was heartbreaking for her to leave school; it’s something she is so proud of and she is so excited to finish and move into a career. She spoke with her teachers and she will be able to come back in 2023 and finish her last year.
We have attached a video of Michel’s advice to this year’s graduates at our year-end party in December. She has grown into such a lovely young woman, and her advice sounds like every college student everywhere: you won’t sleep, you won’t eat, it’s going to be really hard, but it is so worth it! We know she’ll finish and we will be very excited to celebrate her graduation at that time! In the meantime, we send all our best thoughts to her family.
Michel is halfway through her third year of university. She is still enjoying it a lot, and doing some interesting classes in dance and other aspects of Nicaraguan culture. We’re glad she’s still enjoying school, and she’s excited to graduate and move on with her teaching. She has one year to go, then she will need to do her national social service. After that she can become a primary school teacher and help educate the next generation of Nicaragua’s children!
Michel finished her second year of university and, despite the challenges of studying every other week virtually, she seems to have done pretty well. We asked her to tell us about her year, and she sent us a letter answering all our questions—and a bit more!
Monday, 21 December, 2020
I hope you feel very proud of me for having completed my second year in the university. I am very happy because I achieved what I wanted to accomplish, but at the same time sad because I couldn’t see you and Meghan. I know firstly that God will let me see you next year. I am going to study really hard so that when you come you can see my accomplishments. This year was really difficult because of the Coronavirus and the hurricanes, but despite all of it I am still here to continue fighting how you’ve taught me to be a young woman who is independent and hard working. I wish you were here so I could tell you everything that has happened. My parents are well and they send their greetings. My brothers and sister also. They send my grades in January and once they give them to me I will send them to you through Ashley. Thank you so much for always being there to help me unconditionally with this. I say goodbye with a big kiss and hug, I would love it if it were in person. I love you very much, and I hope to see you soon. Your daughter you loves you, Michel.
From: Michel Roque Moreno
1. This year you studied partly in person and partly online. What were the biggest differences between the two study styles?
Yes, this year I studied online every other Saturday. One Saturday there, the next Saturday here online. The differences were that online is a little more difficult because the explanations they give are shorter, while there is was better because when they explain things to us in person they even told us to participate so we learned more. And that made everything easier for us.
2. What were the challenges about studying online and what positive aspects were there?
The online classes for me were very complicated because first of all it was through WhatsApp and I don’t have a telephone but that didn’t impede me in getting the classes. I spoke with the professors and they sent the work, which I received on a friend’s telephone. There were times that the professors sent us to do a report at the Internet place and turn them in the next Saturday. One of the positive aspects was that some Saturdays we didn’t go in person and that prevented Covid. I hope to God mostly that classes will not be given that way but despite everything I want to let you know that I finished my third and fourth semester of classes.
3. How was your second year of university different from your first?
In that all the classes are different and a little more complicated. There were some classes that were really great also and it made me realize that it’s great to learn about all of it.
4. Describe all the classes you took this year. What were they about and which was your favorite? Tell us what you learned in that class and why it was your favorite.
As you know, in each year there are two semesters and in each semester, there are 10 classes: Language and literature, math, psychology, neuroscience, primary education, teaching of geography, Windows, social sciences, study of the Bible. Those were some of the classes that I took all year. Some talk about Christ and the Virgin Mary, others about children with special problems. In Spanish they taught us the importance of reading. My favorite class was teaching geography. I learned so many things, one of which was how to read a map of world time zones. It was my favorite because I learned how to locate on the map what time it is in which country, where the oceans are, etc. It’s really important to learn this because it’s the map of the world.
5. We gave you two-thirds of the necessary costs for the school year. How did you pay for the rest of the costs? Did you find work?
I was working for two months cleaning and taking care of a house from 7 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. But I had to leave that job because it wasn’t like last year where we met on Wednesdays to do homework in a group, and when I asked permission to go and do the group study, they didn’t always give me permission like they did to go to class on Saturday. They didn’t give me permission every day that we would meet. Then I was caring for two children on Saturday nights. I was selling Avon products. It was sincerely very hard for me this year, but I didn’t lose hope of achieving what I wanted with my studies.
6. You are more than halfway through your program of study. What have you thought of doing when you graduate? Have any of your ideas changed from what you used to think in the past?
Well, in my mind I will continue with my studies and when I finish and get my teaching certificate and I have work, I am going to study law, and I know I am going to be a great professional person.
She also gave us a full accounting of her expenses, which helps her (more than us, really) understand how she spends her money. We will be continuing her university scholarship for the coming year. Congratulations, Michel!
Meghan and Christa met with Michel to see how her first year at the university went. We learned that Michel is actually studying in a private university in the town of Esteli. This school focuses on preschool and primary education, which is what Michel wants to teach. The school does not deal with secondary education at all, although they do touch on literacy for older primary school students, since many primary school students in Nicaragua are adults.
We asked Michel why she wants to teach, and we loved her answer. She told us that she had so many teachers who just told the students that they had to learn something because they had to learn it. She wants students to know that learning is fun, and she wants to impart that fun to them, not just make it all about duty.
Michel’s classes this year included Liturgy, Introduction to the Bible, Didactics, Teaching practice, Math and Spanish, Natural Sciences, Psychology, Philosophy, Synoptic Evangelism, Spiritualism, and Civic and Community. She is really enjoying being in the university, which is so great to hear.
Because Michel’s school costs more than the public university would (although nowhere near what a private school in the U.S. would cost), the board made the decision that we will cover two-thirds of her cost. Since she only studies on Saturdays, we feel that she should be able to find a job that will cover the last third of her costs. We don’t want her not to be able to study, but we also want her to contribute to her education, since she has the ability. She wasn’t entirely pleased that we won’t be paying for the full amount, but we explained that we still need to help other girls, which she does understand.
For: Christa 29 November 2019
Hello and a very good day to you. I hope that this finds you healthy, alongside all your family and friends. The purpose of this letter that I am writing is to tell you the following.
1) Describe the differences between the university and secondary school.
In the university one has to take a lot more responsibility since your grades have to be higher. In secondary school there are fewer instructions from the teachers for all the work. In the university there are more exams, homework, etc.
2) What was your favorite class this year at the university? Describe something exciting or interesting that you learned in that class.
My favorite class is teaching practice because in that class they taught me how to give classes to students. Teaching is very important for all students for their future and for that reason I love teaching practice.
3) What kind of teacher do you want to be? What grades do you want to teach and why?
I want to be a teacher who is responsible, respectful, kind, and to teach the best I can to all the students. The career that I am studying is primary school teaching, to learn how to teach first through 6th grade. But I would mostly like to teach first grade because there they teach everything.
4) Describe an achievement from this year that made you feel very proud.
The achievement was that the teacher of Didactics congratulated me for having won first place in an electricity experiment.
I say goodbye with a huge hug and kiss. Thank you for all the unconditional help that you have provided.
From: Michel Roque Moreno
Michel has entered the university! She applied for the new ONE Post-Secondary Scholarship and we accepted her easily. She made such a huge effort on her application. She answered all the questions, despite the fact that she only needed to choose some. She’s so excited to be studying in the university, and gets very worried when she thinks she might have to miss a class. We are so proud of her! Here are the answers to her questions for her application.
Application for Franyesca Michel Roque Moreno
I. PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
1. Describe a quality or attribute that distinguishes you or makes you special.
One quality of mine, and the most important in my life is to be intelligent. I like to study without anyone telling me to study. My parents always feel proud because I am a great fighter with my studies. I don’t like to miss even one day of class and I am fascinated by my studies. Because of that I think I am intelligent.
2. Tell us about someone you admire and why you admire that person.
The person I have admired all my life since I could think is my mother. I admire her because she always has fought for my two siblings and me. In my house, she the mother and the father since my father became sick and couldn’t work. But my mother has always done the impossible to move us forward and give us her unconditional help so that none of us ever lacked anything. She is the person I admire the most.
3. Describe a personal experience in your life and how it has affected your personal development.
When I was in first grade, in the middle of the year, they operated on my mother. She was four months pregnant and the doctors told her that there was a tumor right next to the baby and without the operation she was going to die. I stayed with my father and my two siblings when they operated on her. I had to leave school to take care of my little sister and I lost that school year.
4. What is a challenge that you have encountered and how did you overcome it?
When I was nine years old, I had a kidney infection. I had a fever, shivering, vomiting, etc. That was a challenge for me because I couldn’t sleep. I spent a lot of time sick. My parents say that I was really sick but with the medicine that they gave me, I rested for a while and I overcame it, by not eating food that does me harm, in order to be good for my health.
II. YOUR INFLUENCES
1. Who has most influenced your life and why?
The person who has most influenced my life is my mother, because she has taught me all the values, especially to respect people. She also taught me to defend myself so that in the future I will be a good person.
2. How has your education contributed to who you are?
What I’ve learned from my mother has contributed much to my education. My teachers say that you are taught your values in the home, and that’s true because my mother taught me to respect and I respect people everywhere, and now I’m grateful for her teaching me respect.
3. How has your participation in your community and/or your school affected your personal development?
What my mother has offered me has been a great deal of help, because I can offer what she has impressed upon me with my neighbors, friends, and family.
III. YOUR CAREER
1. Why do you want to study at the university and what do you plan to study?
I want to study in the university to prepare myself and one day achieve my dreams. The subject that I am studying is teaching.
2. Why does this profession interest you?
This subject interest me because I am going to teach children to understand and comprehend, the ability to resolve a problem or to confront situations properly. This is why I have chosen this profession.
3. Describe your goals for your future and how your chosen profession will help you.
My goal for my future is to be a professional, to live with my parents and help my siblings. This profession will help me to have a better life with my family.
4. How could you use this profession to help your community?
Giving classes in school, offering my unconditional support, teaching them that to become anything you have to go through many difficulties but in the end you are going to accomplish what you wanted to do.
5. Why do you think you would have success in this career?
Because I like teaching other people to read and write, to teach them that to study is very important for people. To be successful is to be happy, like it’s made me happy.
6. How would your university studies help you reach your professional goals?
To attend the university would help me a lot with my professional goals because there they will teach me the higher learning that I don’t yet know and I will be able to teach classes and be a great teacher.
1. What kind of challenges or obstacles could happen for you during your university studies (for example: homework, exams, personal life, family, health, etc.)?
I think that in terms of exams and homework I only have to study and do my part. What makes me really afraid is in my family, that something will happen to my father. That will hurt me horribly. I couldn’t stand to lose him. And with my health, ultimately I have been taking medication and I think that I will be OK.
2. Describe how you would overcome these obstacles so that you can continue studying.
With my studies, I will be attending as long as god permits me because I know that my parents will be very happy if I triumph, and I’m not going to defraud them no matter what happens. Although I might get sick I will always continue fighting to study because I know what it has cost all of you, my parents, and especially god.
V. THE FUTURE
1. Describe your goals, and where you imagine your life in the next three, five, and ten years.
In the next three years, I will be studying, in five years I hope to be teaching classes, and in ten years I hope to have received my law degree, in order to have two careers, one in teaching and other as a lawyer, and to be a great professional.
2. How will you use your education and your career to help other children and women with their education?
I would help children and women to have a better education so they can be educated, respectful, honorable, kind people, and that they can teach their children that education is one of the best things there is. Besides this I would give classes so that in the future they could be professionals, and I would offer them my support in any way I could help them.
3. What do you think is the greatest obstacle or challenge that faces your community? How could you help your community to overcome this challenge?
Everyone who lives in this neighborhood is poor and it costs us a lot to buy the things we need to go to school. There are many children who don’t go to school for lack of school supplies. I could help them by offering free classes to all the children, helping them in all the ways at my disposal, so they can accomplish everything they’ve always dreamed.
VI. THE SCHOLARSHIP
Why do you believe that you should receive this scholarship? Tell us about you, not your family’s economic circumstances.
I believe I deserve this scholarship because I am a young woman who has always dreamed of having her career, and I know if you give me the scholarship I could continue with my studies. If you give me this scholarship you will not regret it because I will study a lot so as to not fail even one year. I have always dreamed about this moment to be studying in the university to earn my degree. It would be a great happiness to me if you gave me the scholarship, but if it doesn’t happen I want to thank you for having supported me these past five years of high school. I will not lose hope of receiving the scholarship. I hope to God that I can complete my dreams of becoming a great professional and to always be successful.
LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
From Professor Carlos Alberto Sequeira Perez
I declare that I know Franyesca Michel Roque, ID# XXX-XXXX-XXXXX, native of this city and from a good family and parents with integrity. She is responsible, honest, hard working, and cooperative, with impeccable behavior, supportive of her friends, schoolmates and peers.
From Norving R. Espinoza R. National Sanctuary parish and rector
The reason for this presentation is to recommend the young woman Franyesca Michel Roque, native of this city and from a good family and parents with integrity, She is responsible, honest, hard working, and cooperative in the activities of this Sanctuary, as a catechist since this year.
She did it! Michel graduated from high school on December 4, 2018. Meghan and Christa went to Nicaragua to attend her graduation and it was wonderful. Michel was so excited and happy and proud of herself. Of course, she’s already worried about college, but we told her to relax a little and enjoy her moment.
On the day of the graduation, Meghan and Christa got up early to watch the procession from the school to the church for the mass. We almost didn’t recognize Michel because she was so tall! She had some serious high heels on, but somehow she managed to walk on cobblestone streets several blocks to the church, a feat that neither Meghan nor Christa can imagine.
Here is the graduation procession arriving back at the school. As you can see, a graduation in Nicaragua is a casual and joyous affair, with people all over the place, kids running everywhere, loud music, and lots of laughter.
The graduation was a blast. When one attends a graduation in Nicaragua, the graduation march stays with you for hours, because they play it for hours!
A couple days later, we threw a party for Michel and her sister Perla, who graduated from 6th grade the day after Michel’s graduation. Michel and Perla invited friends and family, and we set up a big speaker on the dirt street outside their house and danced for hours, ate wonderful food, cut a cake, and laughed until our stomachs hurt.
All in all, it was a spectacular few days celebrating with Michel. Even more impressive is her desire to go on to school to become a teacher. She is very determined, and with the support she has received from ONE over the years, she believes she can do it. That is perhaps the best testament to what a little love and support can do for someone. We are so proud and happy for her, and hopefully we will continue supporting her for a few years while she is in college. But for now: MUCHAS FELICIDADES, MICHEL!
Here is the translation of her final letter to us, which we asked her to write to all our donors:
Hello, I hope that this finds you healthy, alongside all your family and friends. The purpose of this letter that I am writing is to tell you the following.
First, I want to thank all of you for having helped me these past five years of secondary school. Thanks to all of you today I am a graduate. I also give thanks to God for having put you in my path. I want to tell you that I want to study in the university to teach children when I become a teacher. I chose this career because since I was little I saw how difficult it was for my parents to send me to class and I am going to teach them never to waste their studies. My parents want to help me to continue and finish my studies but they can’t because my father has kidney disease and he can’t work. My mother sells tortillas. I don’t know how I am going to study, but I know that God will give me an opportunity to continue with my studies. I also want to tell you that this year had a lot of new experiences. One was to defend my research. We received a 95%. That day I felt very nervous but I knew that if I got a good grade, you all would feel very proud of me. I would like to continue telling you many things about my life but I say goodbye with a big hug and kisses. I hope you feel proud of me. I love you all a lot. May God bless you always.
With much love and affection,
Sincerely, Michel Roque Moreno
Yes, yes we are very proud of you, Michel!
Well, Michel is about to finish her last year of high school! And she is simply a star in her class; she received 94% at the semester, and we couldn’t be prouder of her. If she can maintain that average or something close to it, she may be able to get a scholarship to attend the university. Even if she only gets a partial scholarship, that will help immensely. She will be graduating on December 1, and Meghan and Christa will be there to cheer her on!
For Michel’s semester letter to us, we asked her to talk a little about her hopes and plans for after high school. We have heard a couple of different things in terms of what she would like to do, and eventually she will have to decide on something! Here is her letter to us:
Date: 30 July 2018
Hello dear Christa, I hope this finds you healthy alongside your family and friends. The purpose of this letter that I am writing is to tell you the following.
Thanks to God and you and Doña Marina and my parents I am doing well in class. In the first part of the year, I was getting lower grades because I was sick but now at the end of the semester my grades have gone up and I was a cumplidora this year, which is the last of my secondary school. I worked hard for the birthday of the school, I wore a costume and we won. When you come, I will show you a photo of my costume I wore while I was dancing. I will tell you all the things I have done when you come. I hope to see you soon. My family sends many kisses and hugs and I send you a big kiss and hug. May god protect you and bless you always. I’ll see you soon. With much love,
So, my plans for the next year are to continue on with my studies. I want to work during the week to pay for my classes and study on Saturdays. I am going to study in Esteli. I want to study to be a professor because this course of study is short, only four years, and when I have finished my courses, I am thinking of giving classes to children. I chose this course of study because I want to teach children so that they can study and advance like I have done with the help from all of you, from god and from my parents. I hope that my dreams will come to pass and I can achieve my career of being a professor. I am thinking of taking and exam to be able to receive a scholarship to help me in my studies, and thus help my parents for all the help they have given me.
Michel had a hard year, since she was sick for some of it and had to miss some of school. But despite this, she was a cumplidora in the annual parade in September, and she finished the year with a 73% average. We’re so proud of her for persevering through her difficulties, and we are so excited that she moves on to fifth year, and next year she will be graduating from high school! She’s a smart and dedicated young lady, and we hope that she decides to go on and try for a career or the university after high school.
For her year-end letter this year, we asked Michel to draw an outline of her hand. Inside it she was to write things that she liked about herself, or that she was proud of. Outside it, she was to write things she’d like to accomplish or do this coming year or in the future. Here’s her piece of art! Inside her hand she has written things like “I feel very proud to continue studying” “I am proud to have passed 4th year,” “I love my hair, because it’s long.” Outside her hand she has written things like, “I want to keep studying,” “I want to speak English really well,” “I hope that for my graduation we are all together and happy.” We hope she’ll hang onto this and add to it when she feels like it.
Michel has been struggling with her health a little bit over the past year. She’s had some pain in her chest ever since a fall on her bike, and the family is hoping to get a diagnosis soon. In addition, her father has been diagnosed with some health problems as well, for which the medication costs far too much for them to afford. But despite her challenges, she keeps moving forward, and she received a 77% at the end of the year. We’re proud that she keeps trying so hard, even under less than ideal circumstances.
Michel’s letter to us for the end of the year was really thoughtful and we loved reading it. We asked her to respond to some questions regarding the sex education talk they had earlier in the year, as well as viewing the documentary Girl Rising, about women’s education around the world. Here’s the translation:
Hello dear Christa, I hope this finds you healthy at the side of your family and friends. I hope God rains blessings over you at all times. With a hug and a kiss I tell you I hope to see you soon.
1. How have my ideas about having a boyfriend changed? With the film that I saw, I think I am pretty young to have a boyfriend. It’s better that I have to think about my future to accomplish my goal of helping my loved ones.
2. What did it make you think about in terms of having a boyfriend in the future?I think if I had a boyfriend it would hurt my future and there are girls who want to study but who don’t have the opportunity, and I do, so I don’t think I want to leave my studies for a boyfriend.
3. What do you want to be in the future?
I want to be a doctor (a surgeon)
Of all the girls in El Sauce, probably the most changed is Michel. She has grown up so much! When we first met her she was still a little girl and in just a couple of years, she has grown into a lovely woman. She is doing well in school, her final average for the 2015 school year was 73%. She had some really high grades but her total average was brought down by some very low grades in a couple of classes. She is working at making tortillas to help her mother, and enjoying their lovely new brick home that was built a couple years ago by the 4 Walls Project.
Christa and Ashley met with Michel and Teresa for sodas and to discuss the past year and what they are looking forward to for the coming year. We had a great time talking and sipping our cacao drinks, and Michel was a lot of fun to hear from.
Here’s the translation of Michel’s year-end letter to us:
January 6, 2016
Hello dear Christa, I hope this letter finds you healthy alongside all of your family and friends. I hope that you had a happy Christmas and new year. I hope the best for you. Following this short greeting, I would like to tell you the following.
My parents, my sister and I are all healthy and my family all sends you greetings. They wish the best for you.
I enjoyed the friendship of all my friends and teachers, and I liked celebrating Mother’s Day.
The most difficult thing for me was math. Several exercises were really hard, but thanks to God I passed all my classes.
This year, I was again a cumplidora, and with the highest grade point average of 86% I felt very proud of myself. When they told me I was going to be a cumplidora, I felt very happy.
Well, I would like to do excellently academically, and I would also like my parents to help me in math so I can understand it better. The third thing I would like is that God grants you a long life.
(What do you offer to the world?) I helped my friends in English. We always did our homework together. They always do it with me because I understand it pretty well. When I am finished with school, I want to be a doctor to help everyone. I like to help all my friends. I like to dance, to since, to make arts and crafts, and the best is that I am intelligent and I don’t want to waste it.
I hope to see you soon. May God protect you always in what you do. I love you a lot. Many hugs and kisses
From: Michell Roquez Moreno
Our contact Ashley, who has been living just for the past year in New York state, returned to El Sauce for a visit in March and brought along presents from Christa for the girls. She was able to meet with all the girls at Marina’s house and she took lots of great pictures. Michel is growing up and is a very lovely young lady. She’s still working hard in school and doing really well. Her most recent report card was quite good, and she is loving her new home, which provides a safe and secure and private place for her and her siblings to study.
January 2014 – Michel’s Family Gets a New House!
In January, the 4 Walls Project began helping build a brand new, brick and mortar house for Michel’s family. The project was started by Meghan Haslam, a former Peace Corps volunteer in El Sauce, who saw a need for strong, secure, private homes for the town’s poorest inhabitants. After several years, the project is now run almost entirely by a committee of local townspeople, with advice and fundraising from a board of people in the United States. Once a year, volunteers come from the U.S. to help build, and the rest of the year, homes are being built by locals with funds raised in the U.S. To date, the project has helped build 70 homes in this one town. Michel’s new home makes 71! Our contact Ashley, who also works with the 4 Walls Project, said that the whole family is heavily involved, even little Perla, who has become a natural teacher, helping the other volunteers learn how to make the various pieces involved in the house-building process. We’re excited that Michel and all the kids will have a safe and secure place to live and study and grow up.
September through November 2014
Michel’s grades during the year were really good, so she was chosen to be a “cumplidora,” a participant in the annual town parade and celebration. At the end of the year, Michel’s average was an 84%, which is pretty darn good! Her letter to us is lovely. We’ve attached it here.
“Hello Christa, How are you? I hope this finds you healthy alongside your family and friends. I hope that you had a merry Christmas and a happy new year. What I liked the most is that I was supported in everything. The most difficult thing this past year was that I had a lot of problems with mathematics, but I did well, thanks to God. This coming year I would like to be at the top of my class; improve my grades in English and math; I would like to dance; I would like to get along well with my teachers, and I would like to better myself and my behavior. I will apply the knowledge they have taught us in our studies by respecting our parents and siblings and respecting the opinions of others, and helping the elderly.
Christa, with your help, it would allow me to become a doctor, in order to help my parents and other people. Once I have become a professional with a job and an income, it would better the life of my family.
Franyesca Michel Roque Moreno”