by Kesley Fraley
After a long morning filled with French toast, an exam, and class, we took off for lunch at the home of Limitless Horizons Ixil families. We were served guisquil (a local plant) soup with a fried egg and some yummy blue corn tortillas.
After lunch, we headed back up the mountain to the office where we heard the origins of LHI from cofounder and executive director Katie Morrow.
Katie founded LHI with Chajul native Pedro Cabo. In 2005, LHI started by providing 10 scholarships to Chajulense students; today the organization gives 68 scholarships and has a tutoring program and a public library. LHI also provides their students with textbooks and a computer lab.
Most students in the program are the first in their family to study and become literate. Because of this, LHI has strict rules when applying for the program. They only accept students entering the 7th grade with low economic status, good grades, motivation, and a supportive family.
The average middle school student receives $10 a month for 10 months and the average high school student collects $40 a month for 10 months. Students are also given school supplies and other resources on top of their monthly check, equaling about $1000 a year per student.
I found it really amazing how fast LHI has grown in the last 7 years. I am proud to work with this organization along with Philanthropiece, while in Chajul.
After Katie’s talk, we had an introduction to LHI’s Artisan Program and then had time to shop from a variety of choices that a few Chajulense women brought to the LHI office. The women were selling huipiles (woven tops), fajas (woven belts), cortes (skirts), shaws, scarfs, bracelets, purses, and many other small things.
The “Gringos” enjoyed bargaining with the women and a lot of us got a fair amount of merchandise. Needless to say, today was a great day on the streets of Chajul!