JUANITA FLORIDALMA SANTOS COTOM, , HEALTH PROGRAM
A challenging road to success
At age 35, she is a happy worker in the Guatemalan health sector in a center where she has been for 5 years, but before she had to fight against the macho customs of her youth. Juanita obtained a scholarship to study until the 9th grade in the convent of nuns ‘Villa de los Niños, Hermana de María’ in Guatemala, and then returned to Quetzaltenango. With the support of her siblings, she wanted to get into the medical field, a dream that she had, but after high school, she had to move to the United States to take care of her three nieces, since one of her sisters who had emigrated died.
“Service and neighborly love,
keys to improvement.”
The road was very hard, long, and difficult, crossing a desert that she almost did not overcome because of dehydration and disorientation. Despite this, Juanita managed get to her destination and take care of her nieces. She started a new life in the United States, although without speaking the language, she had to work cleaning homes and put her dream of working in medicine on hold. There she met her husband and had a daughter, although the pretty love story suffered several setbacks. First, a deportation to Guatemala and subsequently their separation, too many marital problems and a horrible history of personal abuse. Juanita puts it like this, “I had gone through too many difficult circumstances in my life and had the right to be happy, with my daughter and my family.”
So, in this sad and depressing stage, it was her mother who motivated her to resume her studies and, also thanks to a partner, she entered the ‘School of Nursing Aides ‘ with FUNDAP. Here, she discovered one of her passions, to help people, and take care of them. This is, after all, what she had always done, but this time it would be without other problems and focused on her future, focused on growing.
Once she finished her studies and graduated as a Nursing Assistant, Juanita was completing an internship at the health post in San Mateo. There she learned with real cases and was growing as a health professional, treating people as they deserve and being a great professional. It’s all a matter of hard work, she said. Juanita believes “in putting forth effort because it leads to achieving goals despite difficulties.” Her five years working in this prestigious medical center only indicates one thing, that there is no desert that cannot be crossed nor personal struggle that cannot be overcome.