Our Sisters of Mary programmes are around the world and far away for most of our supporters but everyone is always overjoyed when our donors are able to visit the Sisters and the children. Here is a short testimonial from one of our supporters who was able to make a visit to our Girlstown in Guatemala.
“I had no expectations when arriving to the girls school in Guatemala. I was familiar with the work they did, but was not prepared for what was in store for me. Upon my arrival I was welcomed by an assembly of sisters full of smiles and greeted with flowers and a handmade garland. As I entered the main building of the school I was impressed with the number of trophies showcased in the glass cabinet. I got given a tour of the school and was amazed at how much freedom the girls had, as well as how well-mannered they were towards a new face. The classrooms were modern and were exceptionally clean. The school had an onsite dentist, pharmacist and doctors room, all of which were open to the public. This meant the girls had first-hand medical attention without having to step outside the grounds of the school.
As I walked towards the main assembly hall I noticed there was a line of schoolchildren all in uniform clapping and cheering. To my surprise this was all for me and I was overwhelmed by such an entrance. I made my way into the building and was greeted by a room full of more singing and clapping (all 900 girls!). I was speechless!!!! The school had organised a show of traditional and modern dances from around the world and I could see the girls had put a lot of effort into rehearsing. The sisters had told me that they had taught themselves some of the dances and it bought me back to my childhood memories of dancing and being part of something! As I sat back and watched the stage of colourful costumes and smiles I realised that regardless of backgrounds the girls had an opportunity to express themselves with the joys of dance, which for them in other circumstances would not be possible.
The environment the school brings, whether it be arts, music, dance or sport, the children are immersed in an educational world where learning is central to all activities. I can’t comment on the conditions of where the girls came from as didn’t have enough time during my visit, but one thing I do know is that the freedom and community spirit the school brings, is something that can build a great foundation for them to grow and develop. I am thankful of the opportunity and feel honoured meeting the sisters of Mary in the Girlstown, their work is phenomenal!”