Maya Student Reflections on COVID-19, part 1
We asked our Maya students and scholarship recipients, past and present, to reflect on COVID-19 and the impact it has had on them, their families, and their communities. Below are some of the powerful responses they’ve provided.
LAURA MAGALY CAAMAL POOT
Hello my name is Laura Magaly Caamal Poot, I live in Komchén Mérida, Yucatan. I am 22 years old and am studying the Bachelor’s Degree in Bilingual Intercultural Preschool Education. It fills me with great joy to be able to write these lines to share a little of what we are living through on this side of the country. I’d like to start by telling you a little bit about when it all started. It all started when at the end of 2019 we learned about a new disease that had originated in China, which in my mind is a country far away from ours, surely it will not come here. As the months passed, we began to hear the news, that the disease had already arrived in the United States and was spreading to other places like Spain and Cuba, which started to scare us a little more. Then we heard the case of a plane that had landed at the airport of Merida, where a lady came with COVID-19. That alarmed the entire State of Yucatan and security measures began to be taken. I remember the last Thursday that I went to my internship at a preschool located in San Camilo Kanasín in the state of Yucatan, we had celebrated the day of mother tongues, and were talking about how proud we were to be Yucatecan and have with us the Mayan language. That day there was a sample of food, drinks, Yucatecan utensils and some books that the children had made with their parents in the Mayan language. I also said goodbye to my classmates and teachers saying “See you Monday” – a Monday that never arrived. On Sunday night, ending the meeting at the church where I attend, I checked my cell phone and saw that there were many messages on all social media saying that we had gone into quarantine, and that all social activities, as well as shopping malls and schools, were canceled. It has been almost two months, thank God, we have not gone hungry and we are healthy, Some acquaintances have lost their jobs and we have tried to help with pantries or sharing our food.
During this time we have experienced that God loves us and that this is an opportunity for each of us to improve as a person and approach God. We know that there are many people who are having a hard time, and we ask God to help them and touch more hearts to help each other. As for the academic, the teachers and the principal have been very considerate. They give us many facilities to deliver the homework and have provided their support so that our degree work can continue to advance. Thank God I count on the internet in the house, and in this way I can be in communication with my colleagues and support each other with doubts. It should be noted that some of my free time I have used to help some elementary school children who have doubts with the tasks left to them by their teachers. I am happy to be able to do so. What I have left to say, is “Thank you”, thank you for your support and for your good heart, even though we do not know each other, rest assured that what you do for each of us is not in vain, because you help us achieve our goals and dreams. I have nothing left but to tell you that you will be in my prayers, I send you many greetings and a strong embrace. God always has control, let us trust him that all this will soon end.
Jenifer Citlali Chi Solis
I am from the village of Dzitya and study business administration.
This quarantine situation has changed our lives, brought us despair and pain, yet it has brought hopes and learning that will mark us this year 2020. I have learned: that people come together in difficult times, that you are not alone and will always have the support of others. I have learned that family and living together makes us strong and that being quarantined is not so bad. It is difficult without doubt, many are affected among those me, however hope is what keeps us strong. Now it only remains to wait and learn more, just as we have realized that humans can change.
Dariel of Jesus Tec Chi
I am from the village of Dzitya and study Gastronomy.
Each day is the greatest value we can have as people, thinking of a tomorrow makes us hope for a new day, for a new story. Today our history has been changed in a drastic way. Today has shown us that nothing makes sense if we don’t have health, if we don’t have empathy, if we don’t have love.
This situation has made us value those to which we didn’t give importance, an outing to the park with little brothers or a simple meeting at the home of a friend or family member, a hug, a kiss, are things that today we long to be able to give, today we realize the value of these things and why we should make the most of every minute, every second. We have to worry about fulfilling our dreams, about making them come true.
This situation has helped us miss many things, it has helped us realize that a warm embrace has more value than that an expensive gift. The use of new ways of learning are certainly rare or at least for me they are, I find it hard to be in online classes and even more so when I don’t have media help, however I know that I will have them soon and that each of us at the end of this will fight harder to fulfill our dreams, will give more importance to our lives and value our family even more. This is a test that has helped us remember those wonderful things that we have not valued. Tomorrow we will have the strength to say that we are able to overcome difficulties, that we were able to overcome them together in unity, and we will see the beginning of a new world.
Carlos Pastrana Tun
I am from the village of Dzitya and am studying to become a Dentist Surgeon, in my senior year.
For me this confinement has affected me in a negative way. Since dentistry is a practical career, there’s no way for virtual classes to be done and now my college is charging tuition which is extremely hard to get the money to be able to cover because the only income we have in my home is a tricycle taxi that works in the village.
I think this situation has left a lot of educational lag for all the young people of the country and we don’t know what the future holds. Education and Learning is the best thing to have and to value to be sure for a future in which we do not know what will happen.
Luis Cetina Batún
I am from the village of Dzitya and am studying Law.
It is a pleasure for me to be able to write this because writing to you makes me feel close to the Association Maya Indian Missions. Definitely the situation that today is presented to us, has changed our lives, not only of the few, but of the whole world. We as people are limited, parents, workers or students. We are going through a difficult situation, of unemployment and lack of supplies. We listen and read everywhere “stay home”. This is a reality at least in my family that this is not one hundred percent possible. I as a student can stay home, but my father doesn’t, as he leaves home to do an eight-hour workday, if he has to “stay home”, there is no bread on the table.
It’s hard to be sheltered all day and think about my parents who are over the age of 50, who are prone to being victims of this situation. On the other hand, in the school environment, we continue, classes have not been suspended. Video classes are a reality, it’s definitely more difficult for at least a few days. Waiting for digital platforms, is a new kind of responsibility that not many are accustomed to and I include myself in that.
Finally, in the sporting field I find myself really stagnant, compared to when I am in school. I can’t do workouts, there is not as much motivation as usual, but with the reduced space, you do what you can. Finally, I have to say goodbye, hoping soon to return to the routine returning to school, to training, to work and to helping others.