Madgalena's father is a subsistence farmer who, it is hoped, produces enough food to feed his family, although nothing left to sell. He finds occasion work for others, but it is unpredictable. Her mother manages the household and is als able to do some of the beautiful weaving for which the region is noted, but the work is slow and the income small. One of her brother graduated from secondary school with a certificate for bookkeeping, but has been unable to find work. Magdalena's work as a coordinator for a municipal youth program, as small as that salary is, provides more cash income than all of the others together. They all live in house with mud brick walls, a tin roof, and dirt floors.
As a teenager, Magdalena was one of the founders and the first executive of a youth organization in her municipality, in which she continues active. They provide cultural, educational, and athletic events for young people in the community, who are chronically unemployed. She is a member of a local basketball team, and sings in a church choir. She organized a small program for young women to preserve and enhance the cultural heritage of weaving in the Ixil region .... and much more. Her ideas about how her education in social work would help her community are really inspiring.