This is the story of my brother and me: We are twins. My name is Joshua Moreira Ramirez, my brother Jacob Moreira Ramirez and I are 24 years old and this is our story:
We are a family of 8 members: My father, my mother, and 4 more brothers. My father cannot read, he dedicates to fishing and selling boat tours when tourists arrive; and my mother sell coconut candy made by her, in addition to devote herself to household chores. She also cooks food for tourists and they always buy her coconut candy.
Some time ago we started to benefit from tourism, thanks to Share Smiles’ initiative; and this is much better than to work from sunrise to sunset planting corn or cotton.
One of my brothers, Jonathan, is 22 years old and has led several groups to wander around the estuary where there are mangroves; and Hector, my other brother who is 21 years old, helps showing tourists the birds and animals that live in the area. Hector graduated from high school in 2010 thanks to the help of Share Smiles.
Some tourists continue to support the sustainability of Share Smiles. For example, an American is supported my brother Hector so he could learn English and become a bilingual guide, and now he is also supporting one of my friends too.
We started our studies in the Rural School of El Icacal, which currently has up to ninth grade, since I remember Share Smiles has always supported us with school supplies, uniforms and everything we need to attend classes every day. They began to work at my school in 1997. My brother and I were just kids, but we could not forget the first time they arrived with supplies for the school and the community. They have represented in our lives the opportunity to see something that is beyond; and have motivated us and all the students of the school to continue studying and learning new things.
By the end of our ninth grade we had to make an important decision in our lives, which was to continue studying or not; we decided to continue, thanks to the motivation of Share Smiles that influenced our decision. Due to the school at El Icacal only going up to ninth grade we had to travel to another school that offered High School.
Finally we decided to take the challenge to wake up at 4:00 a.m., take a bath, iron our uniforms, take our canoe and paddle through estuary every morning. We tied down the canoe and started to walk for 45 minutes at a quick pace in the middle of shrubbery until we reached the Institute. We took an extra shirt and a pair of socks in our backpacks in case the one we were wearing got soaked. On several occasions our canoe tipped over and we had to put our notebooks in the sun to dry, now 2 of our brothers are in the same situation.
We graduated from high school in 2008 and Share Smiles continued helping us to take a Technical Degree. They worked out partial scholarship for both us to take our studies, and we started Careers in Port and Customs Management at MEGATEC, an institute for upper level studies near the area where we live in.
My brother Jacob graduated in May of 2011 and I graduated in 2012.