Michael Jordán Pérez Batres- 14 years old – February 2019
My name is Michael Jordán Pérez Batres. I am 14 years old and currently studying the first basic degree at the El Pedregal Institute in Amatitlán. I consider myself respectful and studious, but I am very insecure in myself and the people around me. When I was one year and six months old, my mother abandoned me and my older brothers to live with a neighbor. My father, seeing what was happening, decided to take care of us.
Unfortunately, we were not legally recognized by my father, and the state of Guatemala decided to take guardianship of us until he could prove that we really were his biological children and that he would legally recognize us. This process lasted more than ten years because we were not registered in RENAP (National Registry of Persons). This made the process difficult and my father did not have the financial resources to pay for a lawyer. I left the house when I was 11 years old but my guardianship was given to my paternal grandmother, because she had her own house. Sadly, I was physically and verbally mistreated by my relatives.
This was one of the reasons why a judge took up my case again and decided to grant custody to my father. One of the requirements, however, was that he must attend therapy with a psychologist in order to improve the relationship between father and son and verify that I would be in a stable home without physical or verbal abuse. So, my father moved in with a woman so that she would be like my mother, since she had her own house. This woman my father married had two children, and sadly had emotional problems because she came from a home where she was abused. This affected me a lot in my emotions and my daily life. But, she is the only one who has taken care of me because my dad is hardly ever home, and does not provide us with economic resources for our studies, food, and other needs. This year, the Institute gave me a scholarship to study because my father did not want me to study because he does not want to spend money on my education.
The AVP workshop helped me think about many things. I really enjoyed experiencing this with my classmates and teachers. I laughed with them, which is something very special that this workshop brings. We lived together, we ate together, we laughed together, and we cried together. I felt how the Transforming Power that the facilitators told us about began to emerge in me. I can say that I started to be a special person, and different. Thank you!