I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

My memories

By Catarina  |   From : Guatemala  |   School : Miguel Contreras Learning Complex

My name is Catarina I’m from Guatemala and I’m 15 years old, and this is some parts of my story and memories from Guatemala. Some of them are happy and some of them are sad.

My happy memories in Guatemala start with me living with my aunt for one month around nature. The village where she lived was beautiful I really liked staying there. Everything was divided like the animals, the trees and there were a lot of meadows because of the animals. The farms had vegetables, animals, and trees with fruit. It smelled good because there were flowers. It was spring. In the night, it rained, so it looked so green and fresh in the morning when we woke up. I used to go out with my cousins to play. There were peaches in the spring and all kind of fruits in the trees like oranges apples and others. The peaches looked so good and big and tasty, so I decided to get one out of the tree and eat it. The moment it entered my mouth it was so sweet, fresh and tasty.

My aunt used to cook for my cousins and I; there were a lot of us. I remember hearing the church music, people singing and the instruments. It was nice in the mornings and in the nights. During the day, it was silent. She had a cow in the field that we played with. Everything was so beautiful. The field was natural like a meadow. We would give food to the cow. We would look for berries, my cousins and I.

In Guatemala, we used to celebrate many holidays, such as Christmas, New Years, and more. I liked Christmas the most because we would celebrate it as a family. It was a tradition for our family to gather in someone’s house and a person to cook for everyone else. Every Christmas, my whole family gathers, and they organize everything. No matter how far away they are, my uncles, my aunts, and my whole family they would always be present in my grandma’s house and I liked that the most because we would be with all my family and cousins. I still remember the delicious smell of the rice cooking and the fresh meat being chopped apart. When the tamales were cooking, I remember my cousins and I excited for eating, because my aunts and my mom would have a competition for who could make the best tamale. When they were cooked, my grandma, my cousins and I would go straight to the table to try the tamales and see which one tastes the best. I remember those being the best Christmases I celebrated with my family. I enjoyed myself because it was a happy moment with my family and I.

My family had problems too; some of my family passed away and some of them weren’t that friendly with me. My mom passed away and my dad left me with my mom and my four siblings at a very young age I was four years old at the time and the oldest one out of us was my sister. She was 7 years old at that time. My mom had to figure out a way to feed us and raise us, so she started to sell some herbs and fruits in some villages or towns where my other uncles and aunts lived. She had to travel an hour and a half to get there each day she would wake up at 3:00 am in the morning to take her reservation in a car. Just to get to the villages or towns, you had to hang out of the crowded cars. Sometimes people would fall and it was very dangerous.

When my mom passed away, I was devastated. I had no idea of what was going to happen next. I was just focused on my mom and forgot all of my surroundings. I forgot about what people would think about me. And I was so sad, so angry so devastated and I cried and cried and cried. I was begging for my mom to come back to life I was checking her pulse her breathing and I was telling my grandma, my aunts to check one last time and made sure if she wasn’t breathing. But no one was telling or consoling me at that time. No one said everything was going to be okay. At that time I was 11 years old and no one would understand how much I needed a hug, consoling and someone to tell me that everything was going to be okay. I really needed some affection at that time. Maybe that was why I was begging for my mom to come to life, and give me a big hug. In the end, I stopped and understood that nothing was going be the same, that she was gone, and I had to face the reality in front of me. After my mom died, there were problems in my family.

After that, I went to live with my aunts and changed where I lived each year. Honestly I’m kind of grateful if I really allow myself to be happy with them. I can try. I can’t really feel pity or joy around them because I know that sooner or later I´m going to change where I live or either something is going to happen to them. After my mom’s death I feel like she took my feelings with her when they buried her. But I’m trying to be happy with my new family right now. I try to be a better person right now and in the future for her.


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