Courageous, strong, determined, with iron will, this young woman native from Piura – a future defender of the rights of women and children, today shares her time between her job as a home attendant and her Law and Political Science classes.
I was born in the Machay hunt, district of San Miguel del Faique, province of Huancabamba, department of Piura. At home, my mom, my dad, my 9 brothers and I lived there. I am number 6. My family was dedicated to agriculture and livestock, so since I can remember the first thing I did in the morning was to go see my cows. Then I went back home, got changed, I barely managed to wash my face and left to school. I was always an hour late despite the fact that the school was 5 minutes from my house. When I came back from school I had a quick lunch and again ran to see the animals. At 8 o’clock at night I returned to my house, my mother would say: «dinner», I would have dinner, I would grab my notebooks, tired, until 10 o’clock at night and I would fall asleep on top of my notebook. My would tell me: «Now, daughter, go to sleep». And that was my life.
A hard routine for a girl.
I finished elementary school and went to San Miguel to finish high school. I lived with my sister, and almost did the same as before: in the morning I would get up, I would bring cane for the pigs, I would go to see the cows, I would go home, iron my uniform and go to school. Getting to school took me an hour, it was quite far away and I was also late, half an hour or an hour late.
How did you do at school?
Very well. I never failed a subject, if I ever failed an exam I cried. I would tell myself: «I have to get it right, I have to learn to get ahead in life.» Since I was 6 years old I knew that the fields were not for me, I had to go to the city, to study, to do something else. I thought: «If I want to support my family, I have to improve myself, so I can help my younger brothers and sisters, I have to be an example for them». And that is what I have tried to do every day, to fight and strive to get ahead for myself and my brothers, for my mother.
Making the decision to come to Lima must have been difficult.
When I first came I missed my mom a lot, a week later I wanted to go back to see my mom, I would lock myself in my room and start crying. The first time I came for 3 months, with a teacher who brought me to take care of her nephew. When I went back I thought: «there I can work and study», because my parents did not have enough money to give me higher education, I have more siblings in primary and secondary school, then it could not be a burden. I was 17 years old and I already felt that it was a burden for my parents. The second time I came with an aunt, I went to work with a lady who had a daughter, I took care of her. The house was on Avenida Venezuela and I had always dreamed of studying at San Marcos University, which was very close to my work. I told the woman that I wanted to study and she said it was impossible because she came back at 10 o’clock at night. Anyway, I bought the prospect, I bought the sample exams, everything I needed to study for the entry exam, but when I saw that I did not have support, I gave up.
Then I went to work in a restaurant, I saved, I bought a house in the province and I set up a small convenience store so that my mother could have an income. That was to help her and my brothers who were in high school there at the time. Then I said to myself, now I’m going to save to study.
You already had your concern about how your mom and your brothers were going to stay and now you were focused only on getting ahead.
That was my idea. I always thought about my family, my mother, about supporting her and my brothers. Then, after that job in the restaurant I worked with some Americans who were from the United States Embassy. That experience woke me up, they had other expectations, they offered to take me to the United States but I did not accept because I wanted to study. At that time, it was not my dream to travel there, to work there, my dream was to study.
How did you manage to work and study?
Talking, saying what I wanted. I wanted to go to pre-university the academy, and I told my employer: «I want to study in an academy but it is Monday through Saturday from 6 to 10 at night, what do you think if I do my job fast, I get up earlier, I do everything faster, and you give me permission to study when I finish, what do you think if we try for a month, if you see that I am efficient at work we continue or if I you think it is not working you just tell me, give me 15 days, I will look for a new job so I can study «. We started and a month later I asked him how I was doing, and he said: «You are responding super well, go on». Then we continued, even raised my salary and I felt super good. I’m starting my ninth cycle now, they are 12, I am close to becoming a professional.
Do not be afraid, take the opportunities.
Always say what you want, always fight for what you want, if you want to have your company fight for your company; if you want to study do everything to study; that is what I do every day, I fight every day to finish my career, I have 2 years left.
What do you dream with Betty?
I dream of having my own practice and helping people who have no chance to know what their rights are. For example, there are many single mothers who suffer, and the father neglects the children, I would like to help them and the abandoned children. That is my dream, mainly in the province where it is most needed. There are many women who go with their children to the farms, they do not send their children to school, then I would like to work on that, support them, have the parents send a monthly payment so that the children can go to school, the mothers can work and give food to their children.
You’re a great example, Betty! Thank you very much for your time and for sharing your story with us.
If you are a domestic worker and you are looking for a job in which you are allowed to study, contact the company Nanas & Amas (Av. Primavera 120 A-217 Chacarilla – Surco) by sending a WhatsApp or text message to 977-991-098 indicating that you are a student looking for a job. They will be happy to help you.
If you have a domestic worker at home, ask her if she would like to study and support her should she decide to do so. Remember that access to education is a fundamental human right.