A loan of $250 helped to complete her chef's course.

Joanna Maria's story

The story begins with her entering Kindergarten although she doesn’t remember exactly how old she was then but she was always a very good fellow student; she had lots of friends and liked cabbage, carrot and pineapple salad very much. She remembers asking her mother to take her to kindergarten because of how much she liked the carrot salad.

Later in school the truth is that she wasn’t very good at studying but liked everything to do with dancing and sports; she played basketball and in time learned how to play volleyball; sometimes she even played soccer with her male classmates.

She stood out quite a bit in dance because she liked to dance at all times and besides that during recess they’d set up a tape player with good music to sing and dance for a while.

As for her little classmates, there’s always the cute or pleasant little boy, or the little girl that’s not too good-looking, the talkative one, the teacher’s pet, the pretty girl and all the others. She was one of the chatty ones. They didn’t always scold her for this but sometimes did send reprimands home to her mother because she chatted too much during class; her grades were good however.

In secondary school she didn’t do too well but she was her father’s favorite. You can well imagine that going from a little elementary school to a secondary school was quite a shock for her; it hit her hard. She cried quite a bit and they punished her for being a crybaby. She failed 8th grade and they took her out of the school she was attending and transferred her to another one. Even though that one was all girls that didn’t change things for her because she cried there too when she was left alone there.

So, for the practical courses they had to do, she and a group of fellow students taught dance classes to students in a school. At first it was a bit complicated because they got from the smallest to the biggest ones and she remembers that they taught them to dance the ‘mapale,’ and dances called ‘las vueltas,’ ‘joropo,’ ‘sanjuanero,’ ‘cumbia,’ and others she does not remember. In addition to that she participated in a cultural evening where she danced the ‘jarabe tapatío’ wearing beautiful skirts that made her feel fabulous.

When she completed 11th grade she decided to go to work and that was all until she decided this year to return to school and since she likes to cook she thinks she’ll do it well and would like to learn more from people, like the teachers, who know more.

Although her father is no longer living she knows that he would have liked to see her at this moment doing what she likes and what he enjoyed too. Thanks to her mother and siblings who support her in this process she hopes to reach her goal of establishing a banquet hall or a good restaurant thanks to you.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Polliz

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