Ana Mateo


Ana is a 25 year old single mother from Santa Eulalia in the department of Huehuetenango, in the western highlands of the country.  In order to get to her small town you need to travel about 9 hours from Guatemala City.  The population in her town is almost 100% indigenous and many of the inhabitants don’t speak Spanish at all, only their local language which is Q’anjob’al.    Ana and her two year old son live with her parents and she shares the expenses of the house with her father who works as a small farmer.  Ana works as a secretary in a health center and earns around $370 which is enough to cover her baby’s expenses and the expenses of her four younger siblings as well as put food on the table.  

Because she lives in such a remote area, even studying on Saturdays is very complicated and expensive.  She has to arrive on Friday evening, spend the night in a hotel, attend classes on Saturday, and then spend another night before she returns to her home town on Sunday.   Ana is now in her third and final year of professional nursing in a weekend program which was created especially for vocational nurses and those who were already working in the health system.   

She has told us that she first became motivated to study nursing some years ago when one of her sisters died due to a lack of available medical attention.  Then, after working in the health center, she could see that many of the nurses were not able to properly care for her people because they didn’t speak their native language.  When we interviewed her, she impressed us with her determination to start studying again after a five year gap. We believe she will be an excellent nurse because she seems to have the right motivation combined with a formidable determination.