Voices from Chajul: Longtime sponsor meets her student

“Gracious in Spirit & Love”: The day we met Cecilia

By Jan Musen, Discover & Serve trip participant and LHI sponsor

A framed photograph of my husband and me hung on the wall as we entered Cecilia’s two-room home. On the right wall were paper cutouts of graduation caps and gowns. In the back room Cecilia’s mother was cooking. No indoor plumbing here–mud floors, tin roof, open slat walls, the single water source an outdoor basin.

We have sponsored Cecilia for the last five years, since seventh grade. Without our modest help, Cecilia (like most other Chajul children) would have finished her education at sixth grade. Because of Limitless Horizons Ixil, Cecilia’s family is able to allow Cecilia to continue her education in order to pursue a teaching career.

This was our first visit to Chajul and thus our first opportunity to meet Cecilia face to face. We were accompanied by our daughter Lindsey and her husband Andy, and Edilma and Katie (from the inspiring LHI staff).The day we met cecilia

Cecilia’s mother greeted us in her native Ixil with the warmest of tears. She hugged me close and told us of the difference we had made, how we had given her daughter and thus her family something precious: hope. She spoke rapidly in Ixil, which was translated into Spanish, and then English. It didn’t take long for all of us to tear up. I told Cecilia how I had saved all the letters and drawings that she had sent us over the years and how proud I was of her hard work and her diligence to her studies.

We then sat at their single tiny table while Cecilia and her mother served us a traditional dish called boxbol. The family couldn’t have been warmer or more gracious in spirit and love.

After the meal we asked if we could take photographs. We started with Cecilia and her parents. Cecilia’s younger brothers joined us as well. Slowly, Cecilia’s grandmother, initially hesitant to have her photo taken, slid in.The day was so special that I guess she didn’t want to be left out.

Our two emotional hours with Cecilia and her family were a highlight of our trip and truly representative of our visit to Chajul–totally immersed in a culture as participants and not just spectators. We came away exhilarated. We came away with profound respect for LHI and all who work with and support this wonderful organization. We came away with joy and gratitude that we can be part of it–and with a renewed commitment to helping to make it all possible.

Sponsors! Inspired to meet your student in Chajul?
You’re invited. Reach out at [email protected]

About Jan
Jan Musen lives in North Haven, CT. Jan is passionate about public health, tennis, nature, and traveling. She learned about Limitless Horizons Ixil through her daughter Lindsey, who serves on LHI’s Board of Directors. Jan started sponsoring an LHI student five years ago, and visited Chajul with her husband Ken in August as part of our Discover & Serve trip. LHI is grateful for all of Jan’s support over the years. It is donors and volunteers like Jan that help Chajul’s children access the opportunities they need to thrive.