Christina Jackson has lived in West Bridgford, a suburban town near Nottingham, for two years. And every time she walked down the high-street she had no idea that above the shops, cafes and banks was the head office of an organisation supporting hundreds of students in the very town where she’d had an two-month adventure, 5,400 miles away in Antigua, Guatemala, many years before.
Last November, Christina was reading a local newsletter feature about our first ever virtual ball. She was surprised and delighted to find that Education For The Children was right on her doorstep. After connecting with her at the ball, we were intrigued to find that she’d lived in Guatemala - not many Nottinghamians have that claim.
In the late 1970s Christina travelled to Guatemala to attend a language school which had been set up by her brother, Tony in 1970. The Proyecto Linguistico Francisco Marroquin was founded to enable native Spanish speakers to teach Spanish and investigate and preserve the Mayan Languages spoken around Guatemala. The school offered intensive language learning, teaching students on a one to one basis. Potential students all over the world, particularly from the Peace Corps, heard about the school and came to Guatemala to study.
Students lived with local families and were immersed in Guatemalan culture. Most of the families were very poor, and hosting students provided much needed income. Christina’s host family were very welcoming and although she spoke no Spanish when she arrived, and her family no English, she was well fed and looked after!
Over 50 years later the school is still thriving as the first language school of Antigua. It is run by native Mayan professionals and promotes the cultural development of the indigenous people, supporting the peaceful coexistence of different cultures in Guatemala.
Christina’s lasting memories of her time in Antigua were of very lovely people who were genuinely interested in their visitors, sharing their culture and delighted when the learning improved and communication became easier. She was able to travel around the country and was astounded by its beauty and majesty of the Volcano Fuego.
We love it when our supporters have such a powerful connection with Guatemala and were delighted that Christina decided to be part of the EFTC foundation.
As we reach around the globe for World EFTC Day on March 16th - we are asking our supporters all the same question: Why do you support EFTC? Christina’s answer: ‘To be so surprised and delighted, after all these years, to find a little piece of Guatemala on my doorstep. Talking to the team and seeing the school over zoom, really took me right back. EFTC has enabled me to give back to those communities who opened my eyes so widely to the world and be a part of making their own dreams a reality. ‘