Today I want to tell you the story of an amazing woman.

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Her name is Leonella Lucas, she is 16 years old, she graduated from High School yesterday. She is the first one in her family that will be attending University and that will leave Bahia de Caraquez, and she is a woman.

This girl, has been living in a bamboo house, built by volunteers after the earthquake, she has a mentally and physically disabled brother that can’t be left alone, a completely blind grandmother and a younger sister.

She helps Laura, her mom, in taking care of the house, washing and feeding her brother and grandma, and helping her sister with homework. They don’t have a washing machine or a dishwasher, in fact they don’t even have current water. In all of this she found the patience to study very hardly and not let her peers distract her from her goal, always with a smile. I remember having one of my first conversation with her and talking about studying and going out and just trying to get to know each other. She looked at me and said:

I don’t care about going out, I don’t want to live here all my life, I want to travel and go and see all the volunteers that I met that came here and helped us, I don’t want to have a baby or get married like all my friends are doing. I really want to study and help Mother Earth get better, because it looks like she’s F****d up (sorry, her words).

That is Leonella, curious, intelligent, beautiful, hard worker and brave. Her mother supported her in everything, always, 100% and will continue to but has no monetary resources. Leonella made it, she got a scholarship and she will be moving to Machala, in July, to study environmental biology. Leonella worked hard because she wanted to be happy. She made it because she wanted to.

I learned a lot from her. I think she is a great example for all of us.

And as my uncle would say:

Work hard to Party hard!

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