Jocotenango, where your child lives, is in the state of Sacatepéquez, Guatemala and is a suburb of Antigua. It is an urban environment and is inhabited by both Quiché Indians and Ladinos (those with mixed European ancestry). Most of the children attend school, but financial hardship affects many families and forces most of the children to leave after the sixth grade. Only one out of ten children finishes high school. Children in this area face temptations from gangs and drugs.
Hello, my name is Ana Patricia Arita Balan. I was born on January 20, 2012 and I am 9 years old. My father’s name is Mynor Josue Arita Gonzalez and he does not have a stable job. He usually collects firewood on the mountains to sell it in the town, and he sometimes works as a day laborer. My mother’s name is Carla Patricia Balan Patzan, and she is a housewife; she sometimes earns some money doing the laundry of others or she goes to the mountain with my father. I only have one brother. We do not have an own house or piece of land, so my parents saw themselves in need of encroaching a piece of land; now when the owner will appear, we will have to evict it. My parents have built one room and one kitchen, and they are from tin sheets with a dirt floor. We do not have running water and electricity, so one of our neighbors provides us these services; we pay him a monthly amount for them.
I passed first grade in 2020 so I started my second grade this year, but I only studied for about one month and I did not want to continue. Now, I keep at home helping with the chores, playing soccer and watching TV. I love pink and purple colors, and I like the rabbits. My favorite food is fried chicken. I have one cat, two dogs, and one rabbit as pets. I usually walked 1 hour and a half to arrive to the feeding program, but it had to close its doors due to the pandemic. We are not attending church due to the virus but we sometimes watch the mas on TV. Thank God, none of my family or close relatives has gotten Covid-19, and we are all healthy.
I tell you that I suffered an accident at school when I was five years old. I fell down and I hit my head, so due to this, I started to convulse. The school’s teachers took me to my town’s public hospital and doctors made me many exams. They were not enough so I was took to the city´s hospital where I had to do many other exams. The doctor who took my case prescribe me medicine, but my parents bought it until I suffered another convulsion at home. Thank God, I started to take my medicine and I no longer convulsed again. I frequently had checkups with the doctor but I stopped to visit him when this pandemic started. My parents started to stop giving me the medicine little by little to see how my body will react; I was taking this medicine for about two years. Fortunately, I am stable without the medicine. This is my personal information, and I hope you can find it interesting.
With much love
Ana Patricia Arita Balan
Translated by: Loyda de Osorio/AAC Secretary, Antigua