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.
Maya Student Reflections on COVID-19, part 2
June 8, 2020
PISTE CANUL JOSE CARLOS
I am from Komchen and am in my last year of law school.
My name is José Carlos Piste Canul, currently living in Komchén, Merida, Yucatan. I’m a beneficiary of the great association Maya Indian Missions which day by day raises the dreams of many young people. I want to share my view of this pandemic. The truth is that when this virus arose, it wasn’t a big thing for me. I watched the news and I always thought the disease would not last long or would be controlled. It was very surprising to hear that it became a pandemic and preventive measures by our country was the “Quarantine”. In the same way since the start of the school year it was clear with my classmates that it was going to be our last year together and we had to make the most of it. We did that until one Friday we left without saying anything but “Happy Weekend”!! Without imagining that we would not be back for a long time.
But from all this I take good things like, don’t leave for tomorrow what we can do today, value the things around us. I went to the park thousands of times without valuing it, I said many times to my friends I can’t! do that …knowing that yes, I could. I wasn’t serious about many things until now this pandemic arises. The truth is that this pandemic has brought with it positive things. One day it will make a great story for my children and a valuable lesson for humanity. THANK YOU and see you soon.
CARVAJAL LOPEZ KARIME ANDREA
In this quarantine I have been able to appreciate what friendship and family really are, all this time without being able to see who I love the most has made me miss them to the point of understanding how important they are to me . It’s good taking a mental break and thinking about the things you’re doing right and the things you’re not, it’s good to feel that something is going wrong and wanting to make it better.
Virtual school is not a good idea if I’m in my last semester, the truth is that I’ve been too affected by the failure of teachers to explain various things. I feel that the failure to understand will affect me in my grades and future in college. Being home all day takes away the desire to be serious and it’s here that you realize what’s important which is to value everything. There are people who go out because they need to – parents who have to work and leave someone alone at home. There are foolish people who leave because they are fed up with the lockdown but don’t think about how it can affect others.
I really hope that after all this we can have lots of moments of gratitude to my whole family and make up for those times that I have not been able to be present to others. I have missed them a lot.
CHUC CANCHÉ SHIRLEY GUADALUPE
My name is Shirley and I am a 16-year-old girl from Komchen.
For me really the pandemic situation has impacted my life in different ways. I wouldn’t know if should call them “good” or “bad” experiences, since I’ve had good days, and bad days. My hours at first I took quarantine as “vacation” (ignorantly) but, as the days were going on I realized that this wasn’t funny. Speaking academically, I got a lot of online tasks, the internet was falling, which meant my work couldn’t be done on time. I couldn’t understand the work which was assigned, as there wasn’t a live teacher to help me.
Personally, the quarantine had taken away much of what I liked to do, so I have not been able to go to work at my usual job. And in the family sphere, speaking negatively, I have not been able to see my grandparents, uncles and cousins. And thinking further, and getting empathetic, this is not something that only affects me, there are people who have lost their jobs, and they can’t meet their basic needs, there are also people who health wise, risk their lives day by day by taking care of sick people..
Finally, I have to say that we don’t have to be negative, regardless of what we’re going through. I have been touched to learn to see the good side of this situation, referring to the view of this as an area of opportunity, enjoy with our families with how little or as much we have, strive academically, and replace our ways of doing things , replace them with hobbies like reading, exercise or finding out more on some subject of our interest, it may be something related to a talent or professional career. For example I study nursing and now maybe I can watch “nursing” programs. Yet I am still positive and I am hopeful that all this will end, and I would like everything to come back to normalcy and that this time of pandemic only remains as something we went through, a cordial greeting to all.
MEDINA SOSA BRITTANY VIANEY
I am from Komchen.
We are currently going through the covid-19 contingency and personally I can say that it has been a little difficult and complicated because all the plans that had been made and then the dates were cancelled, our suspended activities, some of them unscheduled even because they are unique activities like my graduation or academic ceremony of my senior year in high school. Just as you are not sure what will happen the same with the entrance exam to college, all these things have affected my generation, but on the positive perspective, I know that all that comes to pass is with a purpose and all I have to do is trust and wait, stay home and hope that it’s all over because there’s a time for everything and the main thing is now.
Now the classes are taken online, it has not been difficult to adapt for us students, but for teachers yes it is difficult for them and that kind of affects learning, but our duty as student is that with teachers or without teachers we must read and study on our own and that has helped me much to be able to get ahead.
My family and I are at home without going out more than for the basics since March 15, and in this time I have spent much more time with them. Because my family is very close, I have managed to appreciate life more especially of those who surround me and also to see how fragile we can be as humans in the face of a virus . Speaking of my activities will be a little difficult because everyone is afraid to leave
If some day in the future a tragedy like this will happen again, we will know what to do and act immediately. I look forward to things returning to normal and when I will be able to be with people I haven’t seen for a long time. I look forward to doing things I like the most like teaching and helping the kids in the association as part of my service work in the association Maya Indian Mission.
MOO PISTE LESEM JAHDAI
I am from Komchen.
Throughout this quarantine I have been able to reflect on my own limits. Before I put obstacles on myself saying that “I tried and couldn’t do it” when I actually might not try it more than once. Now I realize that I just have to try a little harder. Maybe the first or the first few times I don’t get it right or I don’t do well, but that will help me improve. Now in this time of quarantine I’ve been able to try to do the things that before I assumed “I couldn’t do it” and I pretended not to do it right or as I wanted . Now I’m trying and this time I’ll be persevering.
I consider myself a persevering person regarding school issues,. I hope that this experience has helped me face obstacles that will be helpful to me both academically and personally for the future.
AMAYA CHALET REYES ALEJANDRO
I am from Komchen.
I decided to see this period of isolation as an opportunity to meet with myself. The first few weeks I can’t lie, I found it impossible to adapt to this change and lifestyle . Something I remember accurately was that the first day the health emergency had barely been announced and the request to stay at home was a feeling of dread and fear that I felt, both for me and for my family. As the days and weeks passed another feeling took hold of me, a slight stress for “tasks and online classes”. Then trying to do my homework I became glued to the computer. I spent my day and night, I can say that I changed my sleep habits. Instead of falling asleep at 11/12 and waking up at 8/9 I would not fall to sleep until 3:00 am and wake up past noon. As the days passed I decided to start a routine. I spent part of the day on my studies and organized them by priority, from the one I had received earlier to the one late. As well as doing the task which was more difficult to the easiest, and on the other hand I dedicate some time each day to household chores like sweeping or cleaning the floor and watering the garden. I noticed that my garden had been avoided.
As well as around the house, I decided to get to work, removing herbs, turning over the soil and planting some little trees – all became a very pleasant pastime. Another activity I did was to dedicate some time to practice some skills with carpentry and help in the house with such needs, such as putting up screens. I put some shelves in my room and in the kitchen, likewise I noticed that at home in a corner was a can of paint, mostly used by the way but enough to save for the needs and tweaks that my home required so I got back to work.
The last few weeks I wanted to put into practice some of my knowledge in electricity which is my future career. I decided to do electrical installations at home. I put some spotlights in and out of the house, with their respective switches and I put better lighting in my room. A few years ago I practiced day and night the guitar and then I noted that lately I had abandoned the guitar. But now I have decided to resume practicing some songs a little bit. I think that in this way I’m trying to get through this quarantine in which we find ourselves seeing it as a moment or rather a space, to meet myself and dust off skills that I already had and had let go – the same way to learn some new skills , which I never imagined.
From tragedies arise the opportunities and I thank God we’ve been in good health and we can get though this obstacle which society is confronting.
Maya Student Reflections on COVID-19, part 3
June 8, 2020
MITZI LUCELY GIL GOMEZ
In these days we have been confined to the pandemic, in my experience it has been pleasant, although some complain about it. I think during all this time I have learned to love my family both close and far (uncles, cousins), grandparents (a)). In personal way, I want to say this. Before this crisis my father had an operation days and was confined in Mexico City. He remained in the ER for almost a month, it was very difficult at the time but I learned so much, like saying what I had never told my father I LOVE you and for the first time I saw him crying . During that moment I felt that the world was going down. I did not know how everything would come out here. Social Security is difficult providing health care. When he was discharged after a few days of the operation it felt so comforting to have my dad in the house and I felt so grateful to everyone outside the hospital. They gave away coffee, rice with milk, and food .The people encouraged me. Seeing me cry they hugged me. The gentlemen in the ER provided a seat. the people at night prayed and gave me a little peace of mind.
I think I experienced so much anguish and suffering at the time that when he started quarantine and was with my family. It was so rewarding as we made popcorn, hotcakes. My dad continues to go to his therapies and is improving. For me the quarantine has given me so many moments. Honestly long ago I did not live so much with my family. Now everything that has happened I think was pillar so that we enjoyed every second since. In my opinion right now is when we should enjoy the people who are close to us, not argue, fight or bother as that is a waste of time.
DULCE NOEMI PACHECO PALMA
The coronavirus is something that we didn’t expect. It was far from happening in Yucatan, everything was so fast, we said “see you on Tuesday” and we never saw each other again. Personally I believe that I have acquired new knowledge about my own person. I have set new challenges and new plans, I have revalued things and people, however, I will not deny that I have felt sad because I have not been able to carry out all of my activities effectively. When I think about my family, I have sadly realized that we are not very close, and something strange is that because of the conditions of the place where I live I realized that it is not very comfortable to surround ourselves with so many people who are always aware of what you do and what you do not. They do not allow the freedom and autonomous development of a person.
Speaking of my daily activities I hope that this will not be forgotten, and that it will leave us a life and revaluation learning, how important is a hug, a kiss, physical closeness. I hope that when we think about this situation, we will be more aware of one another and, above all, happier and peaceful.
Student in Noc-Ac
First of all, I send greetings and a deep gratitude, of thanks for the support you have provided. I have achieved a lot. The second thing is to explain a little bit about how we are carrying this quarantine situation caused by the pandemic. Quarantine has given me many things to think about. Some of those things are that health is paramount and the first thing to consider, money is essential for other things, but health matters much more in all situations.
This quarantine has taught me that neither money nor all power can save you from illness. The good thing about this quarantine is that a great bond with my family was strengthened, because of the time we have been at home, we talked a lot and we have more confidence with each other. Before I did not have the time to talk about work and school. It also helped me to connect with myself, to think about my future and to have a different perspective than I had.
On the other hand, I have done school activities and connect in virtual classes. Although it is not very good because it takes away the affection of my classmates and teachers. Every day I watch TV a while, listen to some music, draw and help my mother with the work of the house. I watch some tutorial videos on automotive mechanics to learn a little more about what I’m studying, and I know it will help me in some similar situation.
I end by saying that I wish you an excellent day and that God will bless you in great health. Please take great care, respect the precautions and stay at home. Thank you very much for your help. Greetings and a great hug!
VANESA GISEL CHI PACHECO
Hi, I’m Vanesa Gisel Chi Pacheco from the community of San Matías Cosgaya.
What I would like to say is that this time of the quarantine provided a lot of learning. I have been able to live more with my family because you’ll never know when it will be the last day you can hug them. I have also been able to fulfill personal goals, for example being more patient with my tasks. Because I am not used to studying online, I have had to organize my time to get to fulfill everything.
Right now I feel sad with fear for my family and also for people who can’t stop working because their children and parents depend on them.
In this situation you realize that nothing is forever and we have to adapt to what we are living. I learned to value things that were not so important to me before, for example that every day I can talk physically with my friends and family. I hope that all this will end and we can live without concern and all people become aware of what is going on. Perhaps this is a test by God so that we can become aware. I wholeheartedly hope you all feel good.
EDRICK ROBERTO CAB SULUB
Hello, my name is Edrik Roberto Cab Sulub of the community of San Matías Cosgaya, currently in the sixth semester of high school.
During this quarantine I have learned to communicate even more with my family. I have also given a lot of thought on the situation in which we are going. Also during this quarantine I have known a little more. I have come to be with myself, with the real self. I’ve done several other helpful activities, such as exercising, playing with my little brothers, playing video games, to calm that anguish and concern I have.
I have become a little difficulty with online classes as it was a sudden change that we did not see coming. It has been difficult but not impossible and every day I do my best to learn and understand the topics and tasks that teachers give us, since it is not the same to be in the classroom with living as it is to be at home seeing the teacher through a screen.
I have decided to reflect and appreciate everything we have, whether little or much, you always have to be grateful for what you have, since unfortunately there are many people who barely have enough to eat.
Am I scared? Yes, I am afraid as everyone else, I am afraid that something will happen to my relatives, I am afraid that something has come to pass to my grandparents since they are already quite old and all those people who go out to earn the bread of every day, I am very concerned that my mom and dad go out to work, but I don’t panic and I’m sure this will end soon.
Best regards! And I hope everyone’s all okay, see you soon.
DIANA BELEN MENDOZA CAMPOS.
Hello my name is Diana Belén Mendoza Campos I am currently taking the sixth semester of high school and I want to share some of the learnings that I have developed is this time of isolation, in this time of confinement being away from the people we want, of changes so profound in our day to day.
First of all I am aware of the need to learn and study. It is true that we face for the first time an unprecedented global crisis that affects all sectors and our way of life. If there is a message that is repeated these days, in addition to what has happened it is that nothing will ever be as before. That is precisely why we must reflect and learn.
YAEL ARMANDO CABRERA CAB
Hi, I’m Yael from San Matías Cosgaya.
In this quarantine, what has happened is a a drastic change where we change routine and move away from the people we love. In my case I have taken this time to reflect on how important it is to be healthy, to be able to be with your loved ones and thus be able to complete a day. I know that it has not been easy for students, since it is not the same to be in the classroom in the school as it is being in a virtual classroom. Something very important is that you mist have access to the Internet to be able to take classes and be able to send homework. There are students who do not have that access and that is really sad, however we have more advantages that our parents could have had if this had happened in their times.
We have to be grateful for the what we have, for what we eat and if our parents still get a minimum wage even if it is minimal to be able to get through this situation. We must be calm and take advantage of this time to strengthen the union with our family, because now more than ever we have to act as a team. Also, right now I am valuing what it was like to see my friends and go to school, I know that after this it will not be the same. I have learned to value my friends even more and seen that despite the distance I can still count on them. All this is going to happen if we all do our part and at the end of this I know that it will only be a memory that we will tell about how the world joined and brought out its most human side to be able to get ahead.
I hope you’re all well and still at home for the sake of all!
ALEXIS VIANEY COCOM HUCHIM
Hello my name is Alexis Vianey Cocom Huchim, I am from the community of San Matías Cosgaya and a student of psychology.
What I learned from this quarantine, is that I got to know a little more, learned to deal with my own fears, although there has also been the anxiety of being at home all the time and not being able to live with friends and my other family, it has also helped me to listen and live more closely with my family.
However, I am still afraid, distressed, sad, and worried about what is going on, as all this was very unfortunate for me. It has also been very difficult in the school environment, since most of us were not prepared to take classes online.It has been very difficult to take classes, since there are always interferences and teachers do not manage to give well their classes. But it has also not been impossible, since we are learning and we are adapting with the new methods that they use , as well as marking tasks, exhibitions, watching movies related to the subject, etc.
All this has given me a good learning:, human beings can adapt to any situation, even though at first it is not easy, but little by little we can move forward and improve . I hope that with all this, people will become aware of the damage we are doing to the planet, since it has been shown that thanks to the whole world or most of us pollution has subsided and you can see how the environment is improving.
I hope that all this will happen soon, that all of us will be well, and that our goals, plans and objectives will continue to stand and be fulfilled soon. In advance I appreciate the attention and the opportunity we have had so that we could express ourselves. Thank you and see you later. Best regards.
I’m from the village of Sierra Papacal
Before all this, you didn’t value the simple fact of going out on the street, a greeting, a hug, going for a walk, going to buy something and going to school. Suddenly all changed and those things became harmful not because they are bad in themselves but because you can put people at risk. Today, because you cannot go outside and do a lot of things you used to do , you value some things that weren’t so important before. . So now you value your family more, .you share not just through a cell phone, you revalue what you have, you look at nature and what damage has been done to nature. Now that we are “locked up” animals have lost their fear and have come out again without the fear that human beings will harm them. The beaches are cleaner and there is less pollution.
This situation is sad, but from the worst moments you learn. Hopefully all this finds more conscious people, who generate more values in people who day by day want to improve and take care of all. Hopefully in the future this time will be counted as one more experience from which we have learned something wonderful.
Maya Monthly November 2018
November 20, 2018
Thanksgiving is one of America’s most beloved annual holiday and it officially kicks off the “Holiday Season”. Although families gather together to participate in various traditions from football, parades, turkey feasts, and more recently shopping, it is a day of thanksgiving and prayer. It is a day to be grateful of the many blessings bestowed upon us.
Maya Missions is blessed to have an incredible team of dedicated individuals in Mexico constantly trying to improve the lives of the impoverished people in the Yucatan pueblos. One of the blessings we are thankful for is our afterschool programs that provide students with opportunities for life-changing choices. We are thankful for Cinthia Sanchez, Estela Sosa, and Marilene Elk for their dedication to the ninos in the villages.
Editor – Maya Indian Missions
Thankful for Esthela Sosa!
My name is Esthela Sosa and I’m 26 years old. I live in the village of Komchen. I have a MA in Social and Community Psychology and I now work for Ayudar es Compartir (Maya Indian Missions) in the After School Program in Cosgaya. I have also supported the village of Sierra Papacal. We help children who come from families with few economic resources so that they can do better in their grade schools and eventually attend a college or university program.
Before joining Ayudar Es Compartir, I was a scholarship recipient. Thanks to the support I received I was able to graduate from the university and now I can do what I like by working with the village children. I really enjoy my work and it also allows me to help my family financially. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your donations. I am sure they help improve lives. I know that because my life has changed for the better.
Thankful for Esthela Sosa!
We are happy to announce that we have a BRAND NEW WEBSITE! It shares what the Maya Indian Missions are about and includes some wonderful pictures of the Maya youth and adults that we serve.
Have a look! We dare you to watch the carousel on the “What We Do” -> “After School Programs” and not crack at least a small smile! Enjoy.