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Summer reading comes alive, the Queen of Water visits

María Virginia Farinango is a co-author of the grade 10 summer reading assignment in 2011. The students were fortunate enough to witness the muse and co-author of this moving story in person. Yada notes her highlights from the lecture.

IT WAS HER DREAM for her story to be told.

After meeting Laura Resau in a university where she was learning English, they became friends and began the talks that would soon become the foundation of the book. Laura wrote a draft of Virginia’s story in Spanish that spilled over 1,000 pages, which had to be abbreviated. Because of such content, it took seven years to finish The Queen of Water.

Virginia’s parents were farmers and still are today. Living in the mountains around Otavalo, their home is made of adobe; clothes flap on the line outside. In one room, they lived together with some of their animals. As a child, she recalls visiting the cemetery when a family member died to share food and remember. She grew up playing with wooden cards and tending to the family’s animals.

After being taken by a mestizo family and essentially enslaved as a servant, she remembers spending afternoons on the outside balcony, tears streaming down her face as she watched other children play. She wondered why she wasn’t allowed to go to school and instead, was trapped inside.

Her biggest hero as a child was McGyver, a show she would watch in secret after hurrying through daily chores. He inspired her to cleverly plot ways to continuing learning. The mother of the mestizo family she worked for, known as Doctorita in the story, would have her clean the science laboratory where she taught weekly classes. She would practice science labs and study the books while cleaning in order to continue learning.

World Literature teacher Irene Krugman with María Virginia Farinango

 

She finally escaped the family and pursued her grade school education. After receiving her diploma, she cried in front of the building, so happy to finally go to high school. She wanted to be a teacher, even though the Doctorita discouraged her as a longa from pursuing that kind of life path. Too young to sign herself into high school, she had to find others to help, which thankfully happened along with her high marks from grade school.

Soon after, she became ‘Queen of Tourism’ and the ‘Queen of Water’ in Ecuador. Currently, she has a husband and son. Because of her difficult childhood and adolescence, she is motivated to tell her story to other kids, hoping they realize they are in charge of their own lives, they are smart, and they can be what they want to be.

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Ready to embark on the educational journey of a lifetime?

A passion for travel. A strong academic record. And the desire to improve the world as you experience it. If this sounds like you, you just might be our ideal candidate! Start your application with a five-minute inquiry form - you never know where you might end up.

It all starts here.

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