Living Gratitude in Guatemala
What does it mean to live your thanks-giving every single day? The residents of Asociación La Alianza (ALA) know something about that. ALA is our Covenant House site in Guatemala, a home to girls and young women, ages 12 to 18, who have experienced abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking. They are survivors, and more than survivors. They are young people who do not allow their harsh experiences to define them. Instead, they’re transforming their lives. To do that, they rely on ALA staff and each other for support, and on the kindness of strangers they will never know. As ALA National Director Carolina Escobar Sarti says, for these girls, gratitude is much more than a word; it’s a way of living.
If I were not at La Alianza, I believe I would still be suffering mistreatment and cruelty, that, very possibly, I would be with some guy who would be hurting me or abusing me.
If I had been one more girl who kept quiet, I wouldn’t be here. But I had the courage to speak up, to confront my abuser and tell him that what he was doing was wrong; that even if he doesn’t love me, he can’t decide my life.
My life would be totally different if I weren’t at La Alianza. I might be beaten, dying of hunger. But I had the strength to face my situation and walk away.
La Alianza is, for me, a support center, a center where they give me what I never had at home. This is a beautiful place. The staff try to make us feel good all the time and to give us the best chances for life. They try to show us that anything is possible.
For me, La Alianza is joy.
Being at La Alianza has changed my life. It is the best thing that has ever happened to me. If I were not here, I might be living on the street, without food. I am so grateful for the chance to be here. I am grateful to all the people here and to La Alianza for caring for me and protecting me.
For me, La Alianza is home, family, my everything.
When I think of La Alianza or when someone happens to mention it, the first thing that comes to my mind is a home full of love, gratitude, and, above all, family.
I am grateful to Asociación La Alianza for the opportunity they’ve given me and for all the vocational courses they’ve provided. I’m grateful, too, for the medical attention La Alianza has provided for my baby, and for everything that they give me and my baby every single day.
When I came to La Alianza last year, I was two months pregnant. My baby was born here in January 2018.
I’ve been given opportunities here that I’ve never had anywhere else. Since coming to La Alianza, I’ve worked on myself, on bettering my character. And I feel like I’ve achieved a lot thanks to the therapies I’ve received and to the independent living program I’m currently participating in.
When I leave here, I want to be a support for my child. I want to complete my studies and to have a stable life.
God bless you.
When I came to La Alianza in June 2017, I was 16 years old and five months pregnant. My baby was born here the following October.
I am so thankful to La Alianza for helping me with my baby, because if I were anywhere else, my baby wouldn’t be happy and healthy the way he is now.
I’m also grateful for the opportunity I have here to study cooking. This will help me find work as a cook or even to have my own canteen. I’ll be able to support my baby and also to help others, which is my greatest wish.