During these difficult times, I realized that we must appreciate the people we have by our side, especially since I lost many of my family members to COVID-19. I know that many young people do not believe in the existence of the virus and as a result, they do not wear masks, but we must do it to have a better future. I think that in some ways this period was good, since it allowed me to spend much more time with my family: I began to talk every day with my mother, with my brothers, and with my grandparents. My grandmother is in a wheelchair, very sick, and my grandfather is in the hospital at this time because he has heart problems. As a result, I am taking care of my grandmother. I was used to not spending as much time with them before, so being with them was a positive aspect, which I hope will continue . When the pandemic ends, I hope to keep having this closer relationship with my family.
For me, this year was also particularly difficult because I couldn't go to school and it was challenging for me to keep studying at home. I live with my grandparents and we don’t have enough money to buy a computer. Since I am caring for my grandmother, I didn’t have the opportunity to focus on studying. I don’t want to go to college in my country since the higher education institutions are very expensive and I don’t have the grades and scores that would allow me to pursue them for free. My dream has always been to study in Canada or the United States since I love the English language and those countries, and my parents have also wanted me to have the opportunity to study there. Since my family has scarce means, we wouldn’t be able to afford it, but I believe that I can dream while I keep fighting for a better future. Besides all the challenges our society is going through with the pandemic, I believe that we need to strive to improve since we are hurting ourselves and our planet. For example, we hurt the environment when we continue to throw garbage on the streets, and I include myself in this since sometimes I do it too. We must try to create a positive change to have a better place to live and to leave for the generations that will come after us. In conclusion, my advice to everyone is that we continue to take care of ourselves so that this pandemic ends soon. I am sure that we can make it happen. We will continue to fight for this!
— Gabriela Costansa Gatica Huenchumilla, 19