Hilary Hambrick Taft
Hilary Hambrick Taft
Guatemala 2013-2014
I am volunteering at the Monte Cristo Center in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. This family-run community development center provides education, healthcare, & vocational training to the surrounding community. I will assist with teaching English and computer literacy as well as possibly working on a micro-loan fund for local farmers. Read More About Hilary →


There’s some videos going around the Internet about Guatemala, and I want to share them with you. It’s a pretty serious topic, but it’s a conversation that unfortunately needs to be had. Take one minute to watch.

Look Alike- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haw6xox1mXs

Lost- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AJ_T_shLfY

One of the things that prompted me to work with Be a Blessing and the orphanage in Jalapa three years ago was this very plight of young teenage mothers who are left alone with an infant to care for as a result of inter-family relations. According to “LatinWorks,” the group that made these videos:

“In 2013 alone, according to The Monitoring Center of Sexual Health and Reproduction in Guatemala, more than 60,000 girls and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 gave birth … Of these 60,000, 4,356 are girls under 14 years of age and 89% of their abusers are family members, and among them, 30% are their own fathers, cited by a study conducted by the PDH (Procuraduria de los Derechos).”

As well, these numbers are likely very low because of the lack of information gathering in rural, isolated areas.

Which brings me to Monte Cristo. This tiny village of 100 people that Eric and I live in has a reputation for inter-family marriages and familial abuse. That’s one of the reasons CEMOC is truly a safe haven for an unknown number of our students. It’s also one of the main reasons they offer free medical evaluations with a female doctor plus intensive sexual education classes to our students and their parents. Among the many reasons this inter-family abuse takes place is ignorance of general healthy sexual practices.

I’m thankful to be involved with organizations like the orphanage in Jalapa that offers an escape and rehabilitation for these girls + their children and like CEMOC which tackles the endemic problem of teenage mothers from a holistic perspective and offers a safe place to run for guidance and counsel.


Two of the darling girls at the orphanage in Jalapa.

This is not an issue that will disappear immediately. It takes time and education to change the problem one generation at a time. Right now we’re thrilled to have a new generation in Monte Cristo ripe for learning and change.

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