From Maggie Washa: I am excited to announce the newest new student joining our scholarship program. His name is Gibran and he will be starting at the Universidad del Sur in Cancun this August/Sept. It has been his dream for many years to go to University and after exploring several ideas, has decided to get a degree in Hospitality Administration, a degree offered to those wishing to be in the tourist industry. Gibran is already fluent in English, having studied it at every opportunity since he was very young. He graduated from high school a year ago, and has not wasted any time since then. Over the winter he took a course through the Red Cross and is now an EMT (emergency medical technician). He worked full time at Garrafón as a waiter and at Dolphin Discovery. It is there that he enjoyed improving his English skills, but also took the opportunity to pick up any vocabulary in other languages as well. He says he loves practicing Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese! He lives with his parents, sister and nephew in a small home in the Guadalupana. His mother and sister run a small day care center on Isla, and his father is a cook at Garrafón Park. Gibran is now 19 years old. He has worked and saved for the last year to pay for his registration and admission, but will need help with his monthly tuition payments and daily commute to Cancun. Here is a quote from his letter asking for the scholarship: "English has given me the opportunity to interact with people of many nationalities, it is very interesting to know other cultures. The degree that I am interested in now is Hospitality Management, and one of my biggest dreams is to hold my university degree in my hands. I have always cared about the people of my community and the island. When I was young, I volunteered for a foundation called PEACE and I was also part of the Green Patrol (a youth group dedicated to environmental preservation). Both groups were concerned about the welfare of Isla Mujeres. With the knowledge that the degree will give me I will be able to do projects so that the culture and traditions of the island are not lost. You have come into my life to help make my dreams a reality. Maybe some time ago I would not have believed this opportunity would come, but in my mind I have always had this phrase "Never let small minds make you believe that your dreams are too big for you." I will not disappoint you, I thank God for putting you into my life, I also thank you for helping me to make my dreams come true." We are looking for a good handful of sponsors to make up this new "Team Gibran" (pronounced heeBRAHN). I can guarantee that you will love this young man, for his enthusiasm, intelligence and very strong motivation to succeed. He will continue to live on Isla Mujeres and communicates very well in English, so it will be easy to get to know him and his very supportive family.
Hola, My name is Yuseli (JewSELLee), I am 21 years old and live on Isla Mujeres. I am the 3rd of five children and live with my parents. Actually we all live in a rented room that costs $1,800/month apart from the water, light and gas costs. My father works independently without a set salary. From 4AM to 5PM he goes to the beach and looks for marine species, so many, like conch to have to sell to the tourists. His work is risky because he may not see any, depending on the weather and time of the year. All of this is to bring some money to our family. My mother is employed as a house cleaner in a home where she cleans, prepares food and cares for the children. She works 12 hours a day, from 8 AM to 8 PM for a salary of $120 pesos/day. My older brothers could not finish their studies because we do not have the financial resources, and like me have found employment so we can help the family.
Since middle school I have been working to be able to pay for my school expenses and also when I entered high school, because my parents could not help, but I am very motivated. When I finished high school I had plans to study engineering or public accounting, but because of the high costs I have had to postpone my plans and dreams for 2 years. Actually in these 2 years I want to save in part to pay for my academic expenses because I could help my parents with food for the house. I have always wanted a career where I can help my parents who have always worked very hard (for this I am very proud of them) and to avoid that my two younger sisters abandon their studies for lack of money.
This year I took the entrance exam at the Institute of Technology in Cancun, competing with more than 600 other people who want a place in that university, and I am very proud that I came in 17th, giving my parents a lot of pride in me!
I am working now with a salary of $1500 pesos every ½ month, without health insurance or personal loans from my employer. The hours of work are from 7AM to 4 PM. For the new situation I would like to continue working and studying for the financial needs that I have. If I quit working I don’t know if I can find other work that would allow me to continue paying for my academic costs. An agreement that was proposed to me by someone at work is that I continue working part-time and reduce my salary to $800 pesos every 1/2month, and work from 6AM to 1PM. I need to be in school in Cancun by 2:15PM and I need to cross in the ferry so I can arrive on time.
To be accepted in the University I.T.C. I need to pay tuition each semester, which is $4,000 pesos. And to get there I must take a taxi from the port and of course travel by boat daily etc. It will cost $1,300 pesos each week to do this. In any free time I have to do other work, like selling homemade pastries and cake.
"There is nothing that is impossible. If I can finish my middle and high school studies, I can finish my university studies, because the desire is stronger than the flesh. I want to help my younger sisters who are studying also, as I have said, to give what I did not have, setting an example." God bless you. 11/11, 7:58pm Jackie Conlon
I would like to talk about the assistance of a scholarship. Our family is very low on resources but I would like to finish my education because in truth I want a profession.
I live in the Invasion (Gradalupana) without electricity nor computer or USB among other things for school because we don’t have the money in our home. My parents are both working in situations where they don’t make much money. My mother is a waitress and my father works for city maintenance and thanks to their hard work I can take advantage of their resources and study. But at this time everything is getting more expensive and my parents cannot pay the expenses. We talked with the Municipio about a scholarship but they said they are no longer giving money and thanks to that it has been very difficult.
My computer work and all these things are difficult for me because I don’t have them. Some family members have lent me theirs, and in this way when there is no money, my relatives at times have lent money so I can do my homework. My parents are already working and I don’t know how to ask for money and all I can do is the see how to make it borrowing money and later return it.
Thank you so much for reading this letter. Esperanza
1st year in Bachilleres, Isla Mujeres Overall GPA in middle school was 9.5