As the school year draws to an end in Zapote, it is worth noting that this has been far from a normal year. As with nearly every neighborhood, town, and city across the globe, Zapote has also been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet, despite the pandemic’s vicious grip on everyone’s life, some of our children’s resilience through this time is a reminder and a reassurance of God’s presence with us.

Raul* joined Source of Hope in March this year, a month after the Guatemalan government instituted a country-wide quarantine with strict travel restrictions. Children new to a Kids Alive program have to catch up on their studies while adapting to their new environment. This can be extremely demanding and stressful for children. The pandemic added several more layers.

As she entered the school premises accompanied by Raul, his grandmother who came to pick up Raul’s weekly class packet remarked, “He needs guidance, and we hope to find that here.” Seeing how hard Raul has worked to maintain good grades and how eager and excited he is to continue learning with us at Source of Hope is a timely reminder of one of God’s many promises and mercies – that even though we can’t make sense of things happening around us, and life can be hard, God is with us every step of the way, and if we keep that in mind, we can face anything.

Lack of resources has made virtual learning challenging, but as always, the children and staff at Source of Hope have taken the issue head-on. Teachers work extra hours to put together packets each week with all of the grade’s course material, and students find new ways to learn and understand the new study materials. And they are ready and eager for the next year, no matter what it may look like.

While the number of COVID-19 related illnesses has been low, employment, resources, and education have taken a hard hit with the severe quarantine regulations between March through September. Guatemala as a whole has switched to virtual learning, and while this has worked well in some areas, in Zapote’s remote rural areas it is particularly challenging.

However, Raul’s accomplishments are a gentle reminder that God is with us.

*Name changed to protect privacy